Biopics, memoirs and life stories…no matter how many success stories are made for the silverscreen, there will never be a dearth. This is because in a “developing” country like India, where almost every person has to scratch and scrape to survive, every person’s journey is different. Every person’s story is unique.
But have you ever considered the one thing, besides the intense struggle, which is common in all these stories. No, it is not the drama!
It’s the platform.
No matter how great a person is in something, in every film there is a platform that seems to be waiting for the person who struggles.
In this article, we will explore how these platforms in films have evolved over the last couple of decades in India.
Iqbal was one of the first Bollywood inspirational films that truly had heart. This film did not try desperately to be inspiring and feel-good; it just naturally was.
This film shows Iqbal, a deaf and mute boy, aspiring to play cricket for his country, but not finding the right pathways to do that. In this film, Iqbal tries playing for an academy near his place, run by the shrewd Guruji, but is ultimately thrown off due to politics. Finally, he has to enlist the help of a drunkard Mohit (Naseruddin Shah) to achieve what he desires.
Lafangey Parindey 2010
Although a bust, we like to believe that Lafangey Parindey was the kind of movie that started highlighting the dreams of young girls and showed them as confident and determined, no matter where they’re from.
In this film, Deepika’s character Pinky aspired to win the reality show ‘India’s Got Talent’ by way of her skating talent. Even though she has lost her vision and has to go through an extensive period of practicing her skate-dancing without her vision, her journey through the auditions to winning the trophy is quite easy. Lucky for her, she got the right platform to showcase her talents on.
In the original ABCD: Any Body Can Dance, the only one untainted by semi-dancers like Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor, there seems to be one dance platform that each of the dancers aspire to dance on: the “Dance Dil Se” competition (sounds very similar to Dance India Dance).
Even though there are some dirty, monopolistic forces inside the competition, the goal is pretty much simple; if you can stop fighting amongst yourselves and win DDS, you’re pretty much set for your entire life. Now that’s a platform that does all the work for you.
MS Dhoni: The Untold Story 2016
Dhoni’s story, though less of intense drama, is full of ambition and determination. Even though his personal journey is filled with suppression of dreams and battling depression, once he finds the platform, he becomes an instant legend. He even becomes the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team.
Secret superstar 2017
In Secret Superstar, an adolescent but tortured Muslim girl from Baroda is a talented singer, but is forced to repress her talent due to her abusive and orthodox father. Not able to repress her talent any longer, she makes a video of herself singing a song, covering her face with a Burkha and uploads it on social media. Soon after, her entire life starts presenting her with opportunities that not only lifts her up, but lifts up her mother and her little brother too.
Secret Superstar reflected the increasingly digitized platforms that have fulfilled the dreams of so many artistes, and given them a chance to share the limelight, earlier monopolized by a few.
Gully boy 2019
In Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, a lower class young, shy Murad with a hidden talent of rapping overcomes all prejudices and his own insecurities about his status, when he meets an amazing, brave and respected rapper Shrikant “MC Sher”.
This film reflects the multiple unbiased opportunities and platforms that artistes and creators have created to give a voice to the more downtrodden communities and artists thereof. There are local college fests, underground competitions and rap battles, collaborators, groups, local area competitions and of course, digital platforms, that allow people room to break free from societal prejudices.