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The Success of Mass Entertainment Films: A Reflection of National Sentiment?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ashoka chapter.

Edited By: Rishika Agarwal

The recent success of mass entertainment films like ‘Gadar 2’ and ‘Jawan’ has sparked a debate about the kind of national sentiment that their high box-office earnings bring about. Some argue that these films are simply pandering to the lowest common denominator, while others believe that they reflect a deeper yearning for unity and patriotism among the Indian public.

Mass entertainment films are frequently high-end productions with all-star casts and complex and gripping plots. The essence of them is that they frequently combine drama, comedy, action, and romance all in one. Regardless of age, gender, or economic status, mass entertainment films are made to appeal to a larger audience.

There are a number of facets which have allowed mass entertainment films in India to gain popularity. Such films offer an escape from the monotonous and often burdensome life.  They also provide a gateway to envision grand dreams and experience the exhilaration of thrilling adventures, especially in a nation where people struggle with the challenge of making ends meet. 

Apart from that, mass entertainer films also celebrate Indian culture, traditions and values. They often highlight patriotic themes and promote a sense of unity and brotherhood. In a nation characterized by its diverse population, mass entertainment films have the power to foster a shared sense of identity. 

Another factor is that mass entertainer films are simply entertaining. They offer a combination of action, romance, comedy, and drama that appeals to a wide range of audience. Mass entertainer films are also often visually stunning, with elaborate sets and lavish costumes.

The recent mass-entertainment films ‘Gadar 2’ and ‘Jawan’ have both achieved phenomenal box office success. ‘Gadar 2’ is a sequel to the 2001 movie ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’, one of India’s highest-grossing films of all time. Shah Rukh Khan, one of the most prominent actors in India, stars in the action-thriller ‘Jawan’. Both ‘Jawan’ and ‘Gadar 2’ have received appreciation for their patriotic sentiments and entertaining appeal. ‘Gadar 2’ narrates the tale of an Indian man who, during the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, falls in love with a Pakistani woman. The movie has received accolades for its depiction of love and harmony in the face of political and religious conflict.
‘Jawan’ tells the narrative of a man who is determined to rectify societal wrongs, in an attempt to get even with his past, driven by a personal vendetta and a promise made years ago. It is a high-octane action thriller where he is pitted against a dreadful monstrous outlaw who knows no mercy and has caused immense suffering to many. The film has been appreciated for its action sequences and its patriotic message.

The popularity of these films also implies that the Indian population longs for nationalism and unity. Both ‘Jawan’ and ‘Gadar 2’ have patriotic themes that signify harmony and brotherhood. Regardless of their religion, caste, or geographical area, these films have struck a chord in the hearts of viewers all around India.

The success of ‘Gadar 2’ and ‘Jawan’ can also be seen as a parallel to the classic Salim-Javed style of movies. Salim-Javed were a duo of screenwriters who wrote some of the most popular and successful Hindi films of the 1970s and 1980s, such as ‘Sholay’, ‘Deewar’, and ‘Zanjeer’. Salim-Javed films were known for their strong characters, well-developed plotlines, and social commentary. They often featured captivating themes of good versus evil, friendship, devotion and loyalty. Salim-Javed films also often had patriotic themes and promoted unity and brotherhood. The success of ‘Gadar 2’ and ‘Jawan’ suggests that there is still a high demand for films in Salim-Javed’s style. These films offer a blend  of entertainment, social commentary, and patriotic themes that resonate with diverse audiences, appealing to teenagers and adults alike. The popularity of such mainstream entertainments is evidence of the current level of nationalism in India. These films provide a getaway from the mundane areas of life, honour Indian culture and values, and foster the sentiments of nationalism and solidarity.
It is important for us as audience and consumers to remember that just because a movie is a big hit at the box office, does not necessarily mean that people will not watch other genres of movies which did not have a significant collection. India has a thriving and diverse film industry that creates a wide range of films, including independent, regional, and arthouse films, and even movies like Goldfish, Kathal, Tarla, Rocky Raani, OMG 2 have been praised by the audience. The popularity of mainstream entertainment undoubtedly highlights that a substantial and engaged audience does exist.

I am Aryan, a sophomore CS major at Ashoka University.