Bollywood & Hollywood: The Contrast in the Sense of Humor

Bollywood & Hollywood: The Contrast in the Sense of Humor

The self-evident ideas that come up with the word entertainment are dance, music, play, comedy, romance, to name a few. Or we can say, movies have introduced all these to us as some of the sources of entertainment. Bollywood and Hollywood are the two entertainment industry giants that won the hearts of billions of movie-buffs worldwide. Hollywood is based in America, and Bollywood accounts for a part of the Indian movie industry. These industries have always seen as competitors in the context of contents, genres, audiences, establishing or introducing any trend, quality, the quantity of the movie production, and many more. Therefore, the inspiration of the basic ideas is drawn from varied sources for commencing with a celluloid venture.

So, the industries have engaged their audience with almost all kind of genres. The literal definition of the genre is the "term for any category of literature or other forms of art or entertainment, e.g., music, whether written or spoken, audio or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria." The term is driven by ancient Greek literature. But the writers, artists, and filmmakers explain it as the simplest and most practical way to categorize different styles of stories and content.

While browsing through video stores or scrolling through Netflix, we find genres that give us a rough idea of what the stories are like or similar to. It's interesting to find out, though, that what we consider film genres today are, more often than not, hardly pure film genres, as they were in the early days of film. The history of Bollywood, where cinemas were all about the traditional song and dance sequences, running around the trees and mostly a few percentages of it, is narrative. The justification for this was the substantial emotional quotient that Indians proudly base their lives upon. It included all romance, heavy emotions, comedy, action and suspense in one complete package. In short, the Bollywood audience indeed finds solace in larger-than-life protagonists. On the counterpart, Hollywood rarely follows the trend of depending on music heavily. It drives its motivation from a diverse set of emotional, fictional (science, sarcasm, romantic, action, or horror) and non-fictional subjects with a universal appeal. The script plays a significant role, and so does the protagonist and characters. But, most of the content produced in a few years are often genre hybrids, using the rules of genre theory to create new, unique, and different stories.

Arousing story of Humour

A well-said statement, "All comedy has humor, but not all humor is comedy," justifies that the humour can pop up out of nowhere. Humour is whatever makes us laugh in any situation. It is born the moment we laugh. And comedy is a planned entertainment. Every word and action are selected for its ability to produce a laugh. In other words, comedy is attempted, and humour happens.

Historically, the comedy genre has been a favourite attraction for audiences of all ages. Moreover, Bollywood and Hollywood have some immortal movies of the genre that delight viewers for decades. The art of warming a heart and bringing a smile to the audience's face will never be lost, nor should it be considered anything but robust. So, let's take a look at how the industries contradict in the sense of humour.

Cinemas of delight

Mera Naam Joker (1970), one of the most admired Bollywood classics, is a dark comedy, coming-of-age tale, a bildungsroman, a tragedy and a romance all blended. The movie is an art, possess all the quality to transcend all boundaries and become immortal as the protagonist is a famous joker in a circus company. He always presents himself as the happiest person on the earth and every time makes the people laugh. Contradictory, the character has always faced disappointment in his backstage life, and it has surfaced humour to the audience.

A milestone of Bollywood comedy is Hera Pheri (2000) that has redefined the Indian comedy genre of the 21st century. It has become somewhat of a religious piece of film, the kind that Indian cinema folklore would pass on for generations to come — retelling everyone of Priyadarshan's genre of humourism, Paresh Rawal's sprightliness, and Akshay Kumar's ability to suspend vanity. The most memorable ensemble is its casts - a curmudgeon landlord and two jobless freeloaders, where one's an astute parasite (Akshay Kumar), and the other's a debt-ridden dupe (Suniel Shetty). The comic timing of all the characters is what made it a masterpiece.

The emerging genre of religious comedy in Bollywood has effectively unclouded some of the conventions or unspoken rules that license laughter in religion—focussing on two recent hits, OMG! (2012) and PK (2014) have navigated India's cultural landscape, sensorily alive with multiple religions. The movies demonstrate humour through the protagonists' approaches towards Indian religions. These approaches have entertained and enlightened the audience about the unquestioned and blindly following ideas of religions.

Films to amuse

While enlisting some Hollywood comedy movies, Dumb and Dumbest (1994) stands out by its name itself. The film has demonstrated the humour, fun and extreme silliness of the protagonists, Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne. The wholeheartedness of this classic into crude and rude humour is so good-natured and precise that it's hard not to share in the guilty pleasures of the exercise. But, more than the plot, the movie has attracted the audience with its rapid-fire view jokes. Some of them succeed, like the karate fight that ends with a man getting his heart offered to him in a doggie bag.

Shamelessly derivative and only intermittently funny, Due Date (2010) doesn't live up to the possibilities recommended by its talented director and marvellously mismatched stars. Nevertheless, the movie is hilarious! Downey Jr. and Galifianakis are perfect together, and the film is wildly amusing. Moreover, Galifianakis keeps the laughs coming in the hysterical, banter-filled first half. Still, as Due Date descends into explosions, car-chases and awkwardly inserted moments of poignancy, it loses its wit and tempo in favour of expected stunts.

Sometimes the key to satire is to be reasonably close to the source. Anchorman works best when it's anything but a degree or two eliminated from the excesses of the real thing. So, when the news director goes ape over stories about cute animals at the zoo when the promos make the news "team" look like a happy family, the movie is exact on the mark. But it doesn't work when rival local news teams are involved in what looks like a free-for-all from a Roman stadium. Usually, though, Anchorman works, and it's hilarious a lot of the time.

Considering the short discussion on the genre between the two entertainment industries, the one thing that matters to a viewer is excellent and entertaining content. It needs to be worth watching and no matter whether it belongs to Bollywood or Hollywood, or any other film industry.