Sharmistha Gooptu completed her B.A. in History from Presidency College, Calcutta and her M.A. from Calcutta University in 2000. She was awarded the Century Fellowship in 2002 at the University of Chicago to do a Ph.D. on the history of Bengali cinema. She completed her doctorate in 2009 and the thesis was published by Routledge in London and New York as the monograph Bengali Cinema: An Other Nation, and in India by Roli Books in 2010.Her first fiction Menoka Has Hanged Herself is set against the film industry of the 1930s and was published in 2019.
Nandita Puri: There are two types of news first Hard news which comprises politics, international affairs etc. and there are Soft News which are related to entertainment i.e. Bollywood. In the crisis period of COVID – 19 when everybody was in Home, to keep themselves engaged they were highly relied on Soft News as an entertainment purpose. Bollywood people are very easy targets. Many people come and blame them for many ill practices which may be true but not completely. The news of death of SSR which flipped here and there would have been different if he belonged to any other sector than Bollywood. Every field has good and bad things but bad in Bollywood are given more attention. The industry and its people are still loved madly by the whole of India and the world too. Many of our actors have now started becoming a part of Hollywood.
Abeer Kapoor: I would like to say, agreeing with fellow panelists, that Bollywood is indeed an easy target. We can see a deliberate witch hunt of Bollywood by some erroneous people. We are sitting here in our place making theories that don't seem very good ideas. In the early 90s we saw change in mainstream movies and music. We have moved from single screen to multiplexes where prizes have grown exponentially. So they have to target audiences. Algorithmic lynch mobs of some media houses are playing for High TRPs. There is a difference between people. Question is what messages does Bollywood is giving? Storytelling has gone down. Regional cinemas are doing better than them. While the commercial movies today are taking up huge revenues, capital is also available for risky ideas. A number of producers are willing to put money into projects that would have been deemed unviable a decade ago.
Sharmishtha Gooptu: There are many issues with Bollywood like drugs and sexual harassment. Well this thing is in all fields and not only in Bollywood only. Sexual harassment is as early as Bollywood itself. But earlier you couldn’t speak –up. These days we run a campaign such as “Me-too” to expose harassment cases. With the idea of sexual harassment so ingrained in our society, perhaps it’s time to revisit Bollywood and see exactly how much of the amusing or even ‘cute’ courting scenes actually fall between the murky lines of sexual harassment and actual courtship.