Hindi movies are unrealistic and it is a mistake for people to view them as representing India, United Kingdom-based Professor Rachel Dwyer said here today, while releasing her latest book Picture Abhi Baki Hai at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar.
"Hindi cinema is unrealistic and it is a mistake for people to view it as representing India. It is Indian only in imagination and aspiration," said Dwyer, who teaches 'Indian Culture and Cinema' at University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
"If India had been a place like it is in these movies, it would have been a strange place. Bollywood movies are about how a society could be or might be or would be, rather than what it actually is. Indian cinema is India imagined by Indians," said Dwyer, who has a Bachelors of Arts (BA) degree in Sanskrit from SOAS, followed by a Masters in Philosophy (M Phil) in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology from the University of Oxford.
Talking about the recent Salman Khan-starrer called Kick, she called the actor a "genre".
"Earlier, cinema used to have very few genres. Today, India might have the largest number of genres. Salman Khan is a genre in itself. A film like Kick could be done by none other than Salman Khan. If you have Salman Khan in a film, you know it's going to be a big entertainer," she said.
Indian cinema is also far more emotional than Western cinema, said the author, who has also done her Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) on the works of the famous Gujarati poet Dayaram (1777-1852).
"Indian movies are far more emotional than Western cinema. The movie could be about religion, about nationalism or about family. In the end, it is all about love," she said.
Showing concern about the scanty research done on Bollywood, Dwyer said, "Little research has been done on Indian cinema. The history of Indian cinema remains largely undocumented as compared to that of other countries".
Professor Dwyer has published ten books, several of which are on Indian cinema.
Recently, she completed a book called Bollywood's India: Indian Cinema As A Guide to Modern India. She is currently researching the Asian elephant in India.