90’s Bollywood – of mullets, bad makeup and masala movies!

My couch potato days are back again which means I have all the time in the world to sit on my bum and watch the telly. Or watch TV shows on my laptop. Or better still, do both at the same time. Case in point, I can listen to Katy Perry and watch Mad Men simultaneously. Not lying. If only this was a talent that could be put to some use. But, I digress. So one day, after realizing that there wasn’t really much left for me to see in terms of movies/TV shows, I decided to go random on the remote and ended up stumbling upon some gold, literally. The mother of all Hindi channels- Star Gold. Well one could argue with that title but allow me to defend it in the following passages.

I am a 90’s kid. So, anything that reminds me of those simpler times immediately strikes a chord, notwithstanding things such as Govinda’s awesome fashion sense and Akshay Kumar’s not so awesome chest hair. The Bollywood of 90’s was all about celebrating mediocrity – we took pride in substandard CGI and special effects, our heroes were not Dabbang, there was no talk of 100 crore clubs and all one needed was Shahrukh to realize that falling in love could transport you to the picturesque Swiss Alps. Over the years though things have changed like they ideally should. Now we watch top notch Hollywood movies with brilliant scripts and realistic acting. Even Hindi movies are picking up their game, albeit in a small way. This trend has me worried because who will give us the next Gunda or Jaani Dushman? Will we ever see another movie with a No.1 in its title? Well, worry not dear friends because this is where channels like Star Gold come to our rescue. Over the past few weeks I have seen more 90’s Bollywood movies than I ever imagined I could survive. Since they were such an integral part of my growing up years, I thought I should do a tribute, a list of things that characterized that era. So, here it goes

1. Dance like you are in your bathroom: Now, I firmly believe that dance is a form of expression and hence putting labels on it is subjective and unfair to an extent. But, Bollywood took that liberty to a whole new level thanks to some inspired choreography and dance moves. As expected, Govinda leads the pack.

[For more such awesomeness check this out : http://indiaopines.com/10-reasons-love-govinda/%5D

As much as I am not fond of this brand of dancing, I cannot help but smile and dance along to these numbers. Treat to anyone who gets this song out of my head.

2. Fashionably unfashionable: Every generation thinks that the fashion choices they made while growing up were poor. For many the gold standard is 80’s. But, in the 90’s most of our Bollywood stars were bent on outdoing each other when it came to wardrobe choices and hairdos.

Exhibit A: GovindaJuhi
[Source: http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3657070%5D
Now I do not know who the mastermind was behind this epic photo but looks like someone put a gun to Juhi’s head for her to appear in this atrocity.

Exhibit B: Karisma
[Source: http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3966156%5D
Karisma Kapoor was a decent actress. More so in the latter stages of her career. This picture from the early stages of her Bollywood life hurts my eyes. In the picture to the left she looks like a Banjaran who was given free access to shop at thrift stores while in the picture to the right she seems just a step away from completing her transformation into a sunflower.

3. The David Dhawan school of comedy: People are accused of classism when they disapprove of crass and/or massy comedies. I am on the fence on this issue because I enjoyed certain portions of movies like Raja Babu, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Coolie No.1, Bade Miya Chote Miya etc. I did not however enjoy these movie entirely, even as a teenager. When I try to rewatch these ‘classics’, I cringe and laugh out loud at the same time. I thought that the over-the-top acting, double entendres and disregard for female characters would end with the 90’s but we have Sajid Khan to thank for keeping this tradition alive!

By the way, can someone please explain what exactly is happening in the picture below? Hmm, not very Nawab like of Saif now is it?
Akshay Kumar Saif Ali Khan keemat (2)

4. Family dramas and romance – Bollywood Ishtyle: While senseless comedies were flourishing on one end, the 90s also saw a boom in family dramas and a revival of the romantic genre; something which the 80’s had conveniently left behind in its quest for Bappi Lahiri disco music. The people to thank for this trend were the Barjatyas and the Chopras/Johars. I grew up dancing to Madhuri’s songs from Hum Aapke Hai Kaun but the diabetes inducing goodness of people in that movie is almost unpalatable now. Also, I might have jumped at joy when I first saw this scene almost 20 years ago, but this is borderline stupid.

[For your benefit, please skip to the 8th minute and watch how Duffy the dog saves the day]

PS: The only movie that comes unscathed from this genre is DDLJ. We can argue about that later.

5. Sunil Shetty was a legitimate hero and scored a hit in the form of Gopi – Kishen. Enough said!

6. Let me end this list on a positive note. Farida Jalal was around playing the adorable mum or daadi based on the situation and she would always make me smile. That was nice considering we also had Alok Nath, Rakhi and Reema Lagtoo.

Notwithstanding all the mockery I made above, I do have a soft spot for the 90’s. Those were much simpler times and audiences were more forgiving, less cynical perhaps. In fact the 90’s gave us some great movies, music and moments as well. But that is fodder for another post. Till then, I leave you with two songs which in a sense summarize what was both good and bad about the 90’s. For the record, I loved these songs when they first came out and I love them to date! Plus, Govinda-Karisma were a rockstar jodi!

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One Response to 90’s Bollywood – of mullets, bad makeup and masala movies!

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