Sorry, movie stars won’t disappear from movie screens.

When people stopped pretending to read, they said they didn’t read anymore because they didn’t have time. After that, whenever people didn’t do a respectable activity, they said it was because they didn’t have time. This continued until social media took over the world and showed that people actually have a lot of time to waste. Now, people have stopped lying that they don’t have time. But if we listen to the lament of various industries, it would seem that people do nothing in their spare time.

People don’t read books. They don’t read magazines, newspapers or pay their subscriptions online. They no longer visit restaurants as often as they used to. They don’t see plays, comedies, art exhibitions, cricket testing, not even a one-day match, or for that matter a full T20 clash. Now, it seems, Indians don’t even go to see Hindi movies at the cinema. What exactly are people doing with their lives then? That is for another day.

In recent weeks, many Hindi movies have flopped. They just don’t lure their old base, which is most of India, into the halls, a feat the Marvel movies pull off. Many observers and theater owners blame the top rungs of “Bollywood” for this: that most of today’s superstars are untalented and that they breed mediocre sidekicks who fail.

The stars cannot blame their misfortune on the poor quality of their films. If they need big movies to deliver hits, what’s the point of being stars? The whole reason they are paid tens of millions of rupees is that they claim to have the power to override people’s discernment. A power they no longer seem to have. Word of mouth can destroy your movies. Taking all this into account, many observers say that the era of Bollywood superstars is over. But that’s not true.

Movie stars will endure and even thrive. There can be no commercial cinema without stars. The force of capitalism may fire the current stars, but they will be replaced by similar people, perhaps their beautiful but talentless children.

Height is a strange thing: people grant it to a few, who then have power over everyone. The stature is like India. It is an electoral democracy where the majority of the people make some people very powerful. But it is difficult to invent an alternative to height. Here are three reasons why a superstar exists in a capitalist system.

One, a star is compensation for the fact that nobody knows how to sell anything. The best thing that marketers have marketed is that they know what they are doing. The fact is that a small fraction of what people are trying to sell is bought. It’s a very hard sell because we don’t really need most things. And a story without a hero is one of the hardest things to sell. The question, ‘what is the story about’ has only one answer: the whole story. The synopsis of a story is one of the dumbest things in the world. This is why one software feature that almost never works well on sophisticated platforms like Netflix is ​​its prediction of what you might “like” based on what you’ve liked. People have a complex relationship with stories. It’s easier to sell them a star. .

Two, a business story shouldn’t be too good. There shouldn’t be many things that excite a good writer: they shouldn’t be unique, innovative, complex, different, or “push a new envelope.” Instead, it should be familiar, simple, and derived from ancient stories. As a result, a good trading story looks almost exactly like a bad trading story. You can only notice the difference after the release of the movie. Here again, a bankable star is compensation for the impossibility of a bankable story.

Three, people need to form wrong opinions about some people. In this way, people project their opinions onto another person and fall in love with that person, not knowing that they are only in love with their wrong opinions. Therefore, there is a star. (Also why you should never meet a star you love.)

People announcing the demise of “Bollywood” stars point to the South and say that South India makes better movies because they have better stars and as a result, Southern movies are doing well. But they overvalue the south. terrible movies and like any movie business most of them fail too. Although it may be true that people from the south continue to flock to the cinemas. But this could be because, in terms of economy and economic performance, the cities of northern India The middle class is a few years more advanced than that of the south. The point I want to make is not just the fact that a typical multiplex ticket is more expensive in Delhi or Mumbai than, say, Chennai. It is that the middle class of North India is less dependent on watching movies for entertainment than South India. Bollywood’s failure, in fact, is a harbinger. Ten years from now, the stars of the south will also begin to fail as if the terrible films were a sudden development.

The failure of “Bollywood” stars is not in the diminishing appeal of Hindi cinema, but in their inability to drive people out of their homes. The experience of going to see a movie in India is more torture than entertainment. We have to survive the traffic, the air and the ugly chaos of the parking lot.

Hindi cinema is no match for the new India where “development” has come. Then, of course, the multiplexes take care of the rest of the torture. That bad food and ten minutes of commercials and ten minutes of movie trailers. The new stars, when they arrive, may not be able to appeal to Indians the way Amitabh Bachchan did, but they will still make millions watch movies.

Manu Joseph is a journalist, novelist and creator of the Netflix series ‘Decoupled’

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