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Farah Khan and Social Commentary posted by AB Troen

Some popular Hindi Cinema, or Bollywood films, such as the classic “Silsila” and the more contemporary “Dil Chahta Hai” focus primarily on elite melodramas, personal intrigues of the very privileged and can be categorized as “glamorous realism.”  Others, for example the 1965 film “Guide”, “Deewar”, and “Amar Akbar Anthony” deal with social and national themes. Each type takes a very different aesthetic approach and portrays a different India as the camera scans the slums and the working class or completely ignores them and focuses instead on the secular wealthy, comfortable lives of the bourgeoisie. 

These two types of films are combined in Farah Khan’s 2004 Main Hoon Na, and in the 2007 film Om Shani Om, as both films allow the narrative to cross the boundaries and limitations of the upper class.  In Om Shanti Om, Om is born in a lower class family where he idolizes the glamorous stars of the elite, but cannot be part of their world.  Only through death – and then rebirth – can he ascend the social ladder and penetrate the world of the rich and famous.  But, even in that world, it is only with the help of his lower-class friends from his previous life that he is able to resolve the film and bring it to a conclusion.  Members of the upper class need the help of the lower class – and only when working together can thy defeat the villains and be victorious.

Main Hoon Na intertwines two dramatic stories, a personal, elite melodrama, and a national epic.  Although for the most part it follows the life of the upper-class – the film reaches a conclusion and the conflict is resolved – only when the members of the lowest class’s needs are addressed – and poor prisoners of war are set free.

In my view, by incorporating social and political themes in her films, Farah Khan elevates both Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om from being simple yuppy melodramas (like Dil Chahta Hai) to the level of art and social commentary.farah-itemgirl


Filed by abtroen at May 9th, 2013 under Uncategorized

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