Alcohol and Drug Use in Hindi

Updated May 2, 2022

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Alcohol and Drug Use in Hindi essay

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Alcohol has been a favourite drug with Hindi Cinema and that is why the portrayal of alcohol consumption is a very common thing in Hindi movies. Its consumption is vilified as well as romanticized, and at times glorified. It is rejected by presenting it in negative light, thus associating it with the villainy. In Hindi cinema, it is almost impossible to find a teetotaler villain. In almost every Hindi movie, the villain is shown as a drinking guy with many other vices. But liquor is equally consumed by the protagonists, or ‘Heroes’ (as they are popularly called) where liquor consumption is given a positive colour by romanticizing it, so much so that it becomes the setting of many romantic and seductive hit songs .

This glorification of liquor particularly happens in Devdas movies based on Sharat Chandra’s legendry novel of the same name. In 1936 version of the movie directed by Pramathesh Barua, in 1955 version directed by Bimal Roy and in its 2002 avatar directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the protagonists are portrayed as romantic figures, dying because of failed love and liquor consumption. In Dev D (2009 dir. Anurag Kashyap), another adaptation of the same novel, the protagonist begins to drink and takes drugs, after his failure to unite with his childhood love.

Drinking characters in movies are often presented in positive shades. In 1975 family drama Julie (dir. K. S. Sethumadhavan) the character of Morris- Julie’s father- is shown as a drinking but fun loving, lively and caring man. In Prakash Mehra’s Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978) the protagonist Sikandar is shown as full of positive qualities, rather at his best when he is drunk. In the same director’s Sharabi (1984), the protagonist Vicky Kapoor is shown as large hearted and generous, implying that liquor makes people open hearted.

Cannabis (bhang in vernacular) is a traditional Indian drug used for intoxication. Having a mythological association with Hindu God Shiva, it is culturally accepted, ritually permitted and ceremoniously consumed. According to Hindu mythology, Cannabis grew ‘at the spot where drops of divine ambrosia fell from heaven’ (Escohotado, 1996). For such reasons it is associated with innocence and mirth. In 1978 Indian action-thriller Don (dir. Chandra Barot) the consumption of bhang by the protagonist and its after effects of singing and dancing are shown in lighter veins. Similar situation occurs in Aapki Kasam (1974, dir. J. Om Prakash) where the romantic couple enjoys the intoxication of Bhang by singing and dancing. Traditionally in Indian literature and folklore the attitude towards bhang consumers and opium eaters has been of laughter and comedy, but rarely of derogation. The portrayal of negative aspects of substance abuse and of substance trade is rather a recent trend in post independence cinema.

Cinema of 50s and 60s did not bother so much with drug abuse and drug trade as the cinema of later times did. It was in 1970s when the presentation of psychotic drugs such as LSD, marijuana and heroin in Hindi Cinema began. Consequently, the characteristics of villainy as shown in Hindi movies also changed. Now the villains were portrayed as smugglers and drugs dealers, quite different from villains of 50’s 60’s who were mainly property seekers or rivals of the ‘hero’ in love triangles. Dev Anand’s 1971 film Hare Rama Hare Krishna focused on the problem of drug addiction in addition to the social problems of breaking families and sense of alienation in the young generation. The movie dealt with the decadence of the Hippie culture and called for keeping intact cultural values to avoid drugs. Ramanad Sagar’s Jalte Badan (1973) showed drug addiction among the youth. It told the story of a young student becoming a victim of drugs but later coming out of the vicious trap. The 1985 crime thriller Khamosh (dir. Vidhu Vinod Chopra) delineated the portrait of a depressed heroin addict.

A recent instance which can be quoted is of Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion (2008). The movie shows how cutthroat corporate competition, frustration to achieve goals, inability to accept reality, depressing lonelines and decline in career can push one towards drugs. The movie depicts in the character of Shonali Gujral an ex-supermodel who relies heavily on drugs, being unable to deal with decline in her career. The character is based on the actual story of a designer turned model of the 90s, Gitanjali Nagpal, who experienced a ‘riches to rags’ fate and fell a victim to drugs.

Alcohol and Drug Use in Hindi essay

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Alcohol and Drug Use in Hindi. (2022, Apr 30). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/alcohol-and-drug-use-in-hindi/


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