At times, Bollywood scores

"Just because I won the National Award, does not mean I plan to become the next Shyam Benegal or Adoor. Realistic non-commercial films offer you a lot more liberty as a director than a usual film. On the other hand while making a commercial film you are constantly thinking, will the mass audience like this, will they accept this. It is a lot more difficult to make a typical Bollywood film than a realistic film."

That's director Priyadarshan talking about art and commercial cinema.

Catering to niches is relatively easier than catering to masses. The Harrods of the world are to be admired. After all, they sell to high end consumers with taste. But I admire the likes of Wal-Mart more. Because they sell to masses, merchandise that's of good quality, at extremely affordable prices. The business model's the pursuit of Cost Leadership. Harrods is a differentiator. But Cost leaders get my vote (never mind liberals who gun for them) because of their obsession with efficiency that then translates into affordable prices.

Bollywood fare's the dumbest you can get. The ones that make it big are those that get the mass to buy in. A heady mix of romance (read, dancing round trees), villainy and masala stuff as a mix that works with the masses is not easy to come by. When it clicks, despite the air-headed fare, I tag it admirable work. Take Salman Khan starrer 'Wanted' for example. Namrata Joshi reviewing the movie writes, 'I was quite befuddled by 'Wanted' at the start with its various mafia dons and their sidekicks, merrily shooting each other down. It took me a while to figure out who was gunning for whom and why. But then it isn’t important. The film is meant to be seen as an unashamed show of brawn with Salman Khan at his macho best. He continues to sport a largely blank face, careless swagger, unbending dance movements and an ability to pound anybody without getting pounded himself; like him or not, you have to admit the man is a hoot and the audience loves him.

Bolllywood and Wal-Mart have nothing in common than catering to masses. Wal-Mart 's been consistent at success with the masses. Bollywood, not so. Yet amidst the masala movie fare dished, some get the formula right. The mass formula.

That calls for admiration.


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