INDIAN CINEMA from its very beginning had been more of a medium of Popular Entertainment/Culture than an ART form, Popular culture or pop-culture is the combination of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, images, and other phenomena that are within the mainstream of a given culture The expression ‘popular culture’ is preferred as it denotes what majority of the population like. Popular culture includes any cultural product appreciated by a large number of ordinary people with no great pretensions to cultural expertise. The most common popular culture categories are entertainment (cinema, music, T.Vsoaps, sports, news politics, fashion, clothes, technology, etc). Out of All CINEMA is the most powerful.

POPULAR CINEMA is a term mostly used for Bollywood(Bombay-based Hindi cinema), though later, even most “regional cinemas” came under popular cinemas. scholars divide Indian cinema under 3 categories: popular, parallel & regional where popular cinema is mostly BOLLYWOOD, and when INDIAN CINEMA got bollywoodized{Decline of PARALLEL CINEMA & REGIONAL CINEMA following the path of BOLLYWOOD} then there was only 2 cinemas left in India:- POPULAR(high-budget, mainstream film, genre-based, entertainer), ARTHOUSE(low-budget, theme-oriented artistic cinema).

Now what constitutes the mainstream cinema?


SIMPLISTIC STORY & DIGRESSVE STORYLINE- When you look at any popular film you will find the story to be simplistic and storytelling to be digressive (plot within the plot)- take SHOLAY (1975), the story premise is simple a dacoit killed the family of a retired policeman and chopped-off hands of policeman now he hires 2 goons to take revenge, simple?? isn’t it?? but the storyline is digressive, why Thakur wants to hire these 2 goons who are just 2 petty thieves (flashback), why Thakur wnt to kill Gabbar with his own hands, while he can’t even-handed guns to Jai & Veeru with his hands(flashback), why is Radha an epitome of sadness(flashback), the film is filled with such flashback, sub-plots, every attempt is made to make the story understandable for the masses.

IMAGE: YOUTUBE/Movies aur Music

SONG, MUSIC, DANCE- song, music, dance are considered essential elements/ingredients of mainstream films, No matter what your story is, what film it is whether Guru Dutt’s PYAASA OR Shahid Kapoor’s KABIR SINGH, whether it deals with a social issue or revenge or romance songs are important even people used to judge films on basis of songs. , the film with good songs is bound to make good at the box-office. Dance is also important even till now Actors for MAINSTREAM films are judged or taken on the basis of dancing capability. Music is important for the tonality of film background music supports melodrama, terror, the tension in the scene, and fighting effects.


Exaggeration, Theatricality, Declamatory Dialogues- You always know that this doesn’t happen in real life when 1 guy alone fights with 20 people (or if you are Tiger Shroff you can even fight with the whole country), who knows:). excessive melodrama with powerful dialogues or forceful dialogues giving audience adrenaline rush where they feel the same emotion when Faizal khan says “baap ka, bhai ka, dada ka, sabka badla lega re tera faizal!!!!”. Theatricality as a whole is important where you only want to give the audience entertainment on a large screen dark room for 3 hours, that’s it nothing else matters to you as a director or producer.


NO SOCIAL COMMITMENT- Mainstream filmmakers don’t want to deal with social issues like arthouse filmmakers and if they do want, then they will overdramatize it like in the films of Prakash Jha, the situation is socially relevant but the way the story deals with it is overdramatic and hard to ignite your imagination for change of society Or take SIMBA, for example, the film second half deals with RAPE but still the film serves you LADKI AANKH MAARE and TERE Bin songs which have no meaning for the main PLOT.


The characteristics we told you are for a broader perspective of POPULAR/MAINSTREAM CINEMA, there are always exceptions there in every aspect like GURU DUTT always used Songs for Narrative-progression his ways of using songs was one of its kind. This Bifurcation of Indian cinema is also done by film scholars, not audience or filmmakers as for both of them- “A film is a film its sole purpose is to tell a story engaging and entertaining the audience”.


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