Tracking Indian Society: Whose stories do we love?

History is written by the victors.

Whose stories do we love? In a recent interview Arundhati Roy said we have successfully erased the poor from our consciousness.

This is why we were shocked when we witnessed the distress of migrant labourers walking hundreds of miles during lockdown.

Look at the films over time and it would be clear. We have stopped telling the stories of poor, she said.

A close look at the protagonists of most popular Hindi films by decade confirmed it. We took the 5 biggest hits of every decade since 1950 and studied the demography (poor/rich, man/woman, rural/urban) of the protagonists.

In the fifties, out of the top five hits 4 had poor, 3 had rural and 2 had women as protagonists.

In the 2010s the same count was 0, 1 and 0.

Films are just one aspect of life but they epitomize what we value. That determines what we consume and what gets manufactured.

What else strikes you when you see the list of biggest hits by decades?

I found it interesting to see the change in space given to actresses on the posters. Look at the list from 1950–59 and then look at the list from 2010–19.

Top performing films of the decade
Top performing films of the decade

No country for women, this!

#india #insights #society

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