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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Aaja Nachle: Greatest Lesson for Bollywood

The verdict is in: Aaja Nachle has failed. This is definitely a wake-up call for Bollywood.

First of all-- the reason Aaja Nachle failed was because it had a poor script, lack of strong character development. It was filled with cliche dialogues, too many songs that took away from the story, and great actors that were completely wasted.

The thing is-- this movie could have been monumental. A 45 year old single mother (Madhuri Dixit's character) was the protagonist, a rare feat in Bollywood. The film was not another Mother India or any sort of Bollywood tragedy where the actress is crying the whole time or is faced with extreme injustices-- it was supposed to welcome an era in Bollywood where producers would make films that could stand with a female as the lead in mainstream masalas.

But, this didn't happen. And as this movie fails, people are labeling it as a failure for Dixit, for whom this film was a comeback. The problem in actuality is that, although the concept for the film was fresh, nothing else was. Along with Dixit, there were at least four other mainstream actors and three mainstream actresses. This is a typical Bollywood technique-- fill the movie with surprise guest appearances and other stars to make it more marketable. The film wasn't a failure for Madhuri-- but for Bollywood's mainstream masala formulas.

Many are using this film as an example of Bollywood's glaring problem of how to deal with actresses that are too old to be love interests but too young to be mothers of 20- some actors. Aaja Nachle was an attempt to try a new "formula." But the problem rests with this idea of a "formula." The film was horrible because of the script and the addition of more than four love stories and many more subplots in the film. It should not be viewed as a Dixit failure, or a queue that Dixit should be done with Bollywood.

Aaja Nachle shouldn't make the industry shy away with having older women as protagonists in mainstream cinema-- but it should make Bollywood realize that the same routine techniques for hits that have been used throughout the 1990's and 2000's will not work. Aaja Nachle was one of the most anticipated films in Bollywood for 2007 because of Dixit-- nothing else. That being the case, Bollywood needs to stop following the "formula" and be more innovative.