3 reasons why Bollywood films are like porn

Research on the effects of porn on the human brain was started in the late 1980s as proliferation of printed porn began. There are many studies indicating that porn can help increase intimacy in a couple, as long as it is used occasionally and with mutual involvement. But then there are numerous studies that connect excessive porn watching to negative impacts on the physiology and psychology of those watching it.

Research has found that every time a human is exposed to porn, there are new neural pathways created in the brain. Think of it as a path being created in the woods. Repeated and frequent exposure to pornographic imagery widens these neural pathways. Think of it as the path in the woods becoming well-formed and widened as new people walk it regularly. The problem is not the creation of these neural pathways; the problem actually is that humans start routing every sexually intimate interaction (real or virtual) through these pathways created to process porn. No wonder then that porn addicts find real sexual intimacy very dissatisfying. Counterintuitively, all of this open sexuality in porn, rather than drive intimacy, actually dilutes it!

I believe Bollywood films have done the same thing to love and relationships. Think the connection is far-fetched? Read on.

 

1. Bollywood movies end when the hero and the heroine get together

Almost every single Bollywood movie depicts the main protagonists battling through adversities – an ogre-like authoritarian father or the confusion of a love triangle or difficult circumstances or life threatening disease – to finally get together. That’s awesome. Except, the rest of their lives together starts from that day on.

 

dilwale dulhania le jaayenge

 

I mean, I’d like to see Raj and Simran of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge deal with living the mundane life in London. Balancing a kid who is constantly leaking snot, cooking sarson da saag and managing a job while Raj is out drinking beer would have compelled Simran back onto that famous train. Or consider how Naina and Bunny of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani carve out together-time with him wanting to jet away to the farthest corners of the world, while she has 12-hour shifts at a Mumbai hospital.

 

2. Explicit indications by the universe when the right person comes along

One complaint about real life has always been that there is no AR Rahman soundtrack playing in the background while we go through our daily life. Imagine a rousing score when you are running to catch your office bus early in the morning. Or a subtle melancholic melody playing when your boss is yelling at you for missing the darn deadline. Now that would make life interesting.

This lack of cinematic cues is all the more pronounced in the case of our love lives. In a Bollywood movie, it is crystal clear to the hero/heroine of the story that this really is the love of my life. There is love at first sight upon seeing the lady gyrating to a Holi song; or the lady loses her heart to the dude who is singing in the adjacent dressing room at a store; or the gods send explicit signals stating that these two are meant to be together; or the most clichéd of them all – he falls in love with her after seeing her drenched in the rain in a transparent chiffon saree.

But in real life, it can be bewilderingly difficult to know that you are truly, madly, deeply in love with the person you are seeing currently, let alone a stranger you come across at a party.

 

3. Falling in love is easy

The most common pattern of a Bollywood movie is how the male and female protagonists fall in love. It’s almost as if neither the director nor the audience has the patience to see how the ‘falling in love’ happens.

 

ram leela

 

Take for instance the recently released ghastly Ram-Leela. It’s as if our arty Sanjay Leela Bhansali told himself while writing the script – “let’s quickly get over this falling-in-love business so that we can get back to the main narrative of our porn selling, vulgar, pelvic thrusting gentleman and his confused lady love killing each other amidst a lot of noise, color and terrible songs.” So we have exactly 2 scenes where they glimpse each other and run off to romp on her bed and send cheesy SMS shayari.

Falling in love in real life is an absolutely joyful experience. These are memories that last a lifetime. The gradual discovery of each other, long-forgotten common childhood memories, a shared passion that is accidentally realized, quiet companionship over a song that you both love and countless other things.

 

With an estimated 800 films a year, you can imagine the number of times we are exposed to the same experiences listed above. Relate this to what we discussed about how neural pathways are broadened with every exposure to porn. Go figure!

About Chaitanya Ramalingegowda

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda
Chaitanya Ramalingegowda is the founder of HatkeShaadi.com (formerly TwolyMadlyDeeply). Prior to that, he was a management consultant advising Fortune 50 CxOs on their global strategies. He is an MBA from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and BE (Computer Science) from NIE Mysore. Twitter: @InfiniChai
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