In the 70s and 80s, Bollywood was governed by action films, in the 90s and 2000s we saw the trend of romantic films, while now in the 2010s and 2020s, historical or period drama films are on the rise. We just saw the recent trailer of Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Panipat, and we cannot help but notice how it happens to be the 20th big historical drama we’ve had in the last five years. Bollywood has a nasty habit of finding a particular genre and opting to stick with it for a long long time. And recently we how history and biography are the only two genres which are targeted by movie makers.
Since romance began losing its popularity, moviemakers in Bollywood were looking out for the next big thing. And after films like Bahubali, followed by Bajirao and then Padmavat began raking in big bucks and setting records at the box-office, thus we enter an era of historical dramas.
Fans, for some time, were waiting for the trailer of Panipat starring Arjun Kapoor, Kriti Sanon and Sanjay Dutt to drop. And as Ashutosh Gowarikar gave us gems like Lagaan (2001) Swades (2004)and Jodhaa Akbar, fans began screaming ‘bloody murderer’ on watching the trailer of Panipat. The trailer seemed ‘highly inspired’ (Cut-Copy-Paste) from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films Padmaavat and Bajirao Mastani and has now inspired a lot of funny memes on social media.
Historical dramas are all about the sets, the spectacle, the battle scenes, costumes and so on. Coming back to the trailer of Panipat, it feels like a movie we have seen before. The same big battle scene, the same big dance, the repeat of that sword fight, etc. it’s all that we have seen before. Well, we think you would agree with us when we say, the spectacle should be new to be appealing, and as the scene in Panipat is something we have already seen before, it is no longer new to the audience. India has an endless source of amazing stories, but this repertoire has rarely been tapped by our filmmakers. Filmmakers ought to take more risks.