I was struck again last week by how very many characteristics Hindi films share with opera. It’s no wonder Sanjay Leela Bansali is staging an opera in Paris. I watched one in particular which I am now dying to see in Hindi movie form, if anyone wants to finance and make it! (More on that here.)
The list below is what I jotted down just off the top of my head (I am no expert in opera, believe me, although I have seen my fair share—my dad is an opera encyclopedia).
Hindi movies and operas both have lengthy, outlandish (sometimes outright bizarre) plots featuring such things as:
- arranged marriages (and marriage brokers)
- long-lost relatives
- terminal illnesses (especially tuberculosis!)
- sacrifices for the sake of love
- bucolic rural/village settings
- exotic historical epics
- “comic” side plots that aren’t really funny but waste a lot of time
- clever servants
- cross-dressing and bad disguises
- love expressed only through embraces (you seldom see actual kissing)
- subjugation of/double standards for women
- devotion to duty, country and religion
- obsession with class distinctions
- suicide as an honorable way out
and—of course—songs and dancing!
What have I missed?