Portraying stereotypes

Hindi films that depict writers deepen our understanding of neither the writers nor their writing Nandita Das’s film Manto compelled me to think about the portrayal of writers in Hindi cinema. Good examples are hard to come by. But why? Are writers of no consequence to our Hindi film producers? This is strange given that Hindi cinema is deeply indebted to the Progressive Writers’ Movement, and cannot be imagined without Saadat Hasan Manto, Ismat Chughtai and Kaifi Azmi, among others. Javed Akhtar’s father, Jan Nisar Akhtar, also wrote for several Hindi films. In Hindi cinema, the writer is invariably on the margins. He or she is sketched in a few generic ways. The first is the forever-wronged kurta-clad, jhola-carrying social crusader who is steeped in alcoholism and penury. Next is the the trivial, lowly, wannabe masquerading as a writer. And third, the village bumpkin with a proclivity for romantic lyrics. In Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa , the poet is sickened by society’s hypocrisy. Closer in time, Leena Yadav’s Shabd features Sanjay Dutt as a depraved writer fighting writer’s block. Farhan Akhtar is also some sort of a poet in the boring, rich boys’ unending jamboree of a film, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara . He is every bit the buffoon, but doesn’t write, but then who cares? There was also a rare character played by Konkona Sen Sharma in Wake Up Sid , who moves to the metropolis to chase her writerly ambitions. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Anushka Sharma in Sanju are writers shrouded in mystery. One wonders how they make all that money. Hindi films render writers uni-dimensional, their struggles all too reductive. The banal becomes the norm because these films essentially propagate types, not individuals.

Source  : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/portraying-stereotypes/article25052936.ece

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