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The Dark Side Of Bollywood

(Not Only Politics Bollywood Also Have Scary Face) 

The primary film industry in India is Bollywood cinema, situated in Mumbai. It accounts for 43% of India's net box office revenue and employs the Hindi language. The hallmark of Bollywood films is their extended duration, averaging between 2-3 hours, and their unique blend of various genres, primarily romance and action, accompanied by unrealistic yet colourful song and dance sequences that are enjoyable. However, like everything else, there is a darker side to Bollywood films, despite their vibrancy, energy, and enthusiasm. 

What Is Bollywood?

The term Bollywood is derived from Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India, and refers to the Hindi film industry in the city. The moniker "Bollywood" was coined during the 1970s, and it has since become the world's largest film industry in terms of the number of films produced and released each year. The term "Bollywood" originated when the Indian film industry surpassed the Hollywood film industry. If you are familiar with the classical Indian dance style called Bharatanatyam, you can learn more about its history here.

Dadasaheb Phalke, known as the father of Indian cinema, produced the first full-length Indian film, Raja Harishchandra, in 1913. In 1931, "Alam Ara," 

The first Indian film with a soundtrack, premiered. With the increasing number of Non-Resident Indians and Indian communities abroad, Bollywood films and dances have gained international recognition since the 2000s. The popularity of Bollywood is on the rise, and new talent is emerging. To learn Bollywood dance, refer to our guide here. 

The Real Face Of Bollywood-

Gender Equality

The fundamental ideology of male superiority is deeply ingrained in traditional Bollywood movies. Women are portrayed as lacking independence and autonomy, often being subject to patriarchal family rules, particularly those set by their fathers. If they dare to challenge these rules, such as by falling in love with someone disapproved of by their family, they are often threatened. However, modern Bollywood films are breaking away from this stereotype, giving women greater freedom, albeit still not as much as their male counterparts.

This gender hierarchy is not only reflected in Bollywood films, but also in the industry as a whole. Women are paid less than their male counterparts, according to Forbes. Despite having equally prominent roles, Bollywood actresses earn only one-fifth of what male actors do. Priyanka Chopra, in an interview with Glamour, stated that she and most actresses worldwide are accustomed to earning far less than their male colleagues. Chopra told the BBC that films with male leads generally earn $40 million at the box office, while those with female leads make less than a quarter of that. She has called for an end to the "weak" stereotype of subservient mother, sister, and girlfriend roles in Bollywood. Therefore, not only are women depicted as inferior to men on screen, but actresses are also undervalued and underpaid compared to their male counterparts. 

Mental Health 

Depictions of mental health in Bollywood films are often problematic, as they tend to use it as a mere box-ticking exercise or a lure to attract audiences. For instance, Anjaana Anajanni romanticizes the issue, portraying two strangers attempting suicide who fall in love instead of exploring the realities of mental health and suicide. In other films, mental illness is depicted as madness, with characters being ridiculed instead of being taken seriously.

Moreover, mental health issues among actors are often ignored, as was the case with Sushant Singh Rajput, who tragically took his own life due to the pressures of the industry. Mental health is still considered a taboo in Indian culture, with no specific words for depression or anxiety in Indian languages.

However, some Bollywood figures are taking steps to address mental health by sharing their own stories, such as Deepika Padukone and Anushka Sharma, who have publicly discussed their struggles with depression. Padukone has even become the brand ambassador for the Indian Psychiatric Society. It is crucial that mental health in Bollywood is given more support, and that on-screen depictions of mental illness are realistic and accurate. 


In the world of Bollywood, one's family name and wealth can sometimes hold more weight than their talent. This creates an easier path for actors who are born into established acting families, leaving those without such connections far behind. Unfortunately, this issue is rarely addressed and those who do speak out against it risk being suppressed and ridiculed, causing further damage to their career prospects.

Despite the challenges of nepotism, some argue that top actresses like Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra have managed to succeed in the industry without any prior family connections to Bollywood.

While there are arguments from both sides, it's important to note that actors with established family members in the industry often face immense pressure to succeed and prove themselves, rather than being granted privileges based on their family name. 


Ever since the British Raj, certain English styles and mannerisms have become more popular in India than their Indian counterparts. This can be seen in many Bollywood films where Westernisation is evident through characters' dress, attitudes, and speech.

Despite most dialogue in Bollywood films being in Hindi, English words, phrases, and even entire speeches are increasingly being incorporated. Those who speak English are portrayed as more intellectual and superior to their Indian counterparts. This is also reflected in the contrast between urban cities and rural villages, where cities are often associated with English, while characters in villages speak Hindi or other Indian languages.

Travelling to Western countries, such as the UK, USA, and Canada, has become a popular option for filmmakers, creating an ideology that the West is a magical place full of wonder and opportunities - better than India.

Not only is language and location fixated on the West, but clothing and style are too. Many characters now opt for Western clothing over traditional Indian attire. This is particularly evident in female characters who wear short skirts, revealing tops, excessive makeup, and Western jewellery. These characters are seen as modern and progressive compared to other characters who wear traditional Indian attire. This implicit reinforcement of Westernisation being more favourable to Indian culture stems from the British colonisation, which still lingers in Indian culture despite India gaining independence from British rule in 1947. 


In Bollywood, skin colour is a significant concern. India has a diverse range of skin tones, from light to dark, but most actors and actresses have fair skin. This has been criticised as discrimination against those with darker skin tones, particularly as actresses feature in beauty marketing campaigns promoting skin-lightening products. Aishwarya Rai, a prominent actress, appeared in an advertisement for Unilever's 'Fair and Lovely' face cream, which lightens skin tone. This reinforces the idea that fair skin is associated with beauty and goodness and has a negative impact on young Indian women who buy skin-lightening creams that cause long-term damage.

In the wake of the recent Black Lives Matter campaign, Unilever has faced increasing pressure to drop the word 'Fair' from its 'Fair and Lovely' skin-lightening cream. According to the BBC, this is India's most popular lightening cream, with an annual revenue of 24 billion rupees. Three change  petitions were created in June 2020, demanding that Unilever bans the cream from being sold in Asia markets and Asian shops in the West. Johnson  has also announced that they will withdraw some of their fair skin products from Asian markets. Even Bollywood songs have been accused of colourism, with female characters often described as 'gori' meaning 'white female'. This reiterates the idea that whiteness signifies beauty and creates insecurity among those with dark skin tones.

This is not just a problem in Bollywood but  Indian culture as a whole. Most paintings, idols, and artwork featuring Hindu Gods and Goddesses portray them as pale-skinned, even though the scriptures refer to the darkness of their skin. To counteract this bias towards colourism, a project called Dark is Divine has been created, which presents Hindu Gods and Goddesses as darker-skinned. 


Therefore, those are some of the unfavourable aspects of Bollywood. However, on a positive note, efforts, programs, and consciousness are being fostered worldwide to eliminate pessimistic concepts, attitudes, and beliefs regarding subjects like psychological well-being, discrimination based on skin colour, favouritism based on family connections, and gender. That’s why politics has not only two faces even bollywood or you can also say that it has three faces - personal , business , interaction.  


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