Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Capitalist Prince as the New Hero of Tollywood

Who says it's the same formulaic movies that Tollywood makes, the very name "Tolly"wood indicates its intention to keep pace with the times. The latest hit of the so called honest, down-to-earth hero with whom all the co-actors and directors claim to be so proud of working with, while keeping pace with the times, tells us, this is our new hero, our aspirational model, the heir of a multinational company, taking great pride in the millions of currency that he commands, the numerous cars that follow him with so many people at his command, whom he can abuse, physically, verbally at his whim, while they remain servile and grateful for his generosity, loyal for just being paid their salaries. Playing the driver of a rich family, he protests for not being respected, not because drivers deserve respect just like any other human being who is an equal but because he's the heir of a multinational. If the driver was any other person, obviously, he wouldn't deserve any more respect. And the women of course remain dolls, to be stared at, teased, admired for their physical beauty like objects of pleasure and daughters to be married away to accomplish their parents' mission in life. So, anyways, not to digress, we now have our latest capitalist hero, who's presented, I have to admit, rather honestly. The power of the big capitalist, to control the government (the centre, not even the state) which is losing its disguise of constituting people's representatives, is presented for what it really is.

And while moving towards capitalism, our Tollywood, doesn't want to upset the feudal lords either. Feudalism, of course has to be respected, not to forget our past, you see. The zamindari system, oh was it abolished for being exploitative? Nevermind, the telugu movies continue to tell us, no, they are not such bad people, they are just like everyone, there are good zamindars and bad zamindars, you just have to be on the right side. No people in the villages protest against them, they just submit to, aspire to loyalty of the highest standards towards their zamindari masters, to be killed when the good and the bad zamindars are fighting with each other, happy to become martyrs.

So, while Tollywood has anyway shed any pretence of having a story, "technically" speaking, it has also become more representative of the rich, be they feudal landlords, or the new capitalists and of male chauvinist, patriarchal perspectives.