Indian Movies: Do they teach or trash our culture?

Contributed by Avinash Ramchandani
avinash@indolink.com

In many people's minds Hindi movies are useless. Therefore when the Indian youth of America think of Indians and Indian culture, they think of what they have heard of. The family with a stereotypical father, mother who obeys the father, kids who obey their parents, and arranged marriages. These themes were shown in the movies of the 80s and to a lesser part in the 90s. But mostly these movies have been outdated by new, more current movies. These movies show more of what a real Indian family is about more than the stereotypical Indian family.

In the films of the 80s, the main focus of the films was the violence and dancing. The stories were not as important. Slowly the film industry paid for this. Films started to become less and less popular and slowly English films and Indian Ghazals came into the scene. From the Indian Ghazals sprawled several other types of Indian music which still exist today, like Indian Pop and remixes which are hits today. Punjabi music also started to take off.

In 1989 a movie called "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak" took the industry by surprise starring new actors, Juhi Chawla and Aamir Khan, as well as the new music directors Anand Milind. The fresh story and the relationships among the families sprawled a new look among the new Indian generation and also posted an outlook at the near future.

Slowly new movies with less and less violence came up. The songs started to change from Disco to more mellow, love-duet type songs. Then movies like "Maine Pyar Kiya" showed up. This movie shows much about the Indian culture and how friends are supposed to be as well as how a cultural family behaves in certain situations. This fresh movie also has two new stars, Salman Khan and Bhagyshree, as well as Raam Laxman, the music director.

More movies on the same line came out, "Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander", which has the now superstar music duo, Jatin-Lalit. JJWS shows the relationship between two brothers. Songs like "Roothke Humse" show through and through what the Indian culture is about.

"Hum Aapke Hain Kaun..?" is the biggest hit ever in Indian cinema. The movie shows relationships between family members as well as the culture of Indian marriage. Songs like "Jhoote Dedo Paise Lelo", "Wah Wah Raamji", "Samdhi Samdhan" and "Didi Tera Devar Deewana", show much about the Indian culture and Indian cinema.

In the same year another film showing a victory of Indian culture against their European rivals in the 1940s. "1942-A Love Story" showed how strong an Indian brought his culture against the European rivals. This movie showed how the Indian culture has become what it is today.

The biggest hit of 1995, "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" showed trust between family members, as well as the stereotypical dominating father living in the liberal world of London, England. This movie also showed that even though an Indian may be born and brought up in a different country, they always stay Indian to the heart.

Indian cinema can be a link for the western youth into the Indian culture. Movies like "Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander", "Hum Aapke Hain Kaun...?", "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge", "1942-A Love Story", and "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak" show strong relationships and show what a true Indian culture is about today.

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