English song and dance? Not for us!


English song and dance? Not for us!

Think of movies like Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Enchanted, The Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd and you will realise that the general public doesn’t seem to care much about musicals as it does for an ‘end-of-the-world’ blockbuster like 2012.

This is surprising especially coming from the people of a country, who are as used to songs in their films as they are to dal in their rice.

English musical, a genre which has gained popularity in the United States again in the recent times, has never really caught on with the Indian movie-goers.

Metrolife asks people why these musicals don’t go well with the Indian audience.
“It is because of the total lack of masala and the absence of ‘tried-and-tested formula’. I mean there should be some action, drama, tears and joy along with dance and song.
Stand alone song and dance don’t work,” says Nikhil Bhardwaj, a marketing professional.
Many people watch English flicks to avoid the song and dance sequences, which they have been watching since childhood.

“If I have to watch someone dancing with extras, I will go and watch any Karan Johar or Yash Chopra movie. Why listen to songs that I wouldn’t even be able to sing along with,” asks Savita Gupta, an intern in an advertising firm.

The vast difference in the music and dance styles also makes it difficult for the audience to connect to the movie.

 “Like our taste for food, our sensibilities too are groomed based on influence. We grow to like, appreciate and prefer what is more readily available.

Forget foreign music, Carnatic music which is big abroad is something unknown to most of us even in this age,” says Ashvin, an IT professional.  “Even through TV or media, we are exposed to only select music genres that are popular in America like pop, rock and hip-hop,” he adds.  And then there are people who think that ballroom dance style, with the lack of jhatkas, don’t go well with the desi crowd.

“As we are better at singing and dancing, so we look down upon them. We like a movie like Step Up but that’s a rare case. Also, the foreign musicals get very technical and concentrate on details. Indians like music and dance because they are fun not because of the technical stuff,” says Sumukhi Suresh, a professional.

“Foreign musicals appeal to only select urban Indians and not masses. For them, the concept of heroes like Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzanegger beating up a guy works better,” says Nikhil.

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