Mother India

In Bollywood film, the setting is always India. There may be diversions to paradise, but it’s always India to which the story and the characters come back.

How India Works As A Setting

Mother India is at the very heart of Bollywood film. From the majestic Himalayas to her sun kissed southern shores, and with the great River Ghanges flowing through her like blood, she is always present. The plot may feature a beautiful heroine being rescued from evil by the brave hero. However, it’s always metaphoric and depicts India being protected from invasion and outside forces of evil. India is the stunning backdrop, and is also what the plot or storyline hinges on. Everything is inter connected in Bollywood film, and all films and texts tend to be formula driven and rely heavily on each other to add certain layers of inter textual depth. This could be likened to the the different layers and hidden depths of Mother India herself.

India As The Basis For The Bollywood Film

India has always been at the very heart of Indian literature and film. The great epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, are concerned with the history, protection and love of India. Maha means ‘great’ and Bharat is commonly used as a word for India, strengthening the theory that all is relative when it comes to India. She is at the very heart of the film plot, posing as the great queen, the scheming temptress, the wise earth mother, or the innocent maiden who must be saved from the clutches of evil at all costs. The nine rasas work hand in hand with India to drive the plot, with each character a different facet of the whole. The shrewish mother in law, or the innocent maiden are depicted in an exaggerated way, and shringara is the rasa for love which drives the maiden as surely as raudra and vibshata are rasas which are used in the depiction of the mother in law. However, as any woman is as capable of being a loving mother, an innocent or a schemer, so India is shown to have many layers. Just as the male characters can all have pride and courage, as well as weakness and cowardice, the influences on India also have great range.

Everything is connected to India in the films of Bollywood, just as the great epics were based on her. Plots and characters are but a depiction or an extension of India as a whole.

Picture via Flickr.com by Meanest Indian Some Rights reserved