I find Bollywood movies thought-provoking. No, seriously. The thoughts that they provoke may not have anything to do with the movie itself, but provoke they do. This is in total contrast to, say, Spaghetti Westerns or James Bond movies, which are excellent tools for escapism. The good movies of the latter kind totally immerse you, have you completely detached from the real world, and are excellent tools to get you out of NED.
Maybe the thing with the Bollywood movies is that they don’t engage you enough. They don’t engage you enough in order for you to be immersed in them. And that leaves you with enough CPU time to start thinking of other things. Then, it is easier to empathise (in some form; maybe some 10% empathy if not more) with certain characters in certain Bollywood movies, which is impossible to do in case of characters such as James Bond or The Man With No Name. And this empathy will end up directing your spare CPU time to thinking about yourself.
Bollywood movies also have a lot of “slow moments”. Passages in the movie where nothing really happens, and this includes the songs. Passages where nothing enough happens, and which allows you to be able to switch off and devote your entire CPU time to the other thing that you are thinking of. Also, the language is generally easy enough that even if you were to miss a few dialogues (when lost in thought), you are able to catch up with the rest of the movie.
Maybe it has to do with the intent of the filmmakers. Whether they intend to make a gripping movie that will help the audience go off on an escapist trail, or whether they want to purposely keep the movie light so that it doesn’t demand much brain power from the audience. Or maybe it has to do with implementation. It may well be the case that someone wants to make a gripping movie, but does such a bad job of it that the minds in the audience start meandering. Or maybe the filmmakers try to make a movie where the audience sees the movie through the eyes of a certain character. But the problem with that is that in such cases, there is the chance that the viewer equates himself with this character, and starts thinking of the similarities and differences, and focuses on himself rather on the movie.
It also depends upon the intent of the viewer, as to what he is expecting when he goes to the movie. Does he want the movie to present him a mirror so that he can see himself in the characters? Mostly not, I think. Does he go for general entertainment? Mostly yes, I think. Does he go to the movie for some sort of an escapist experience so that he can momentarily be detached from his normal life? Maybe yes, which I think signifies a higher fraction compared to “mostly not”.
I don’t see too many movies. Even those that I see are those that have generally been certified as hits. i don’t normally see art-house kind of movies – which are perhaps actually made to be thought-provoking. The last three Hindi movies I’ve seen (approximately) are Jaane Tu… , Jab We Met and Rock On. I have no clue what the intent of each of these movies was, though I would imagine they were made for general entertainment. Each of them ended up holding a mirror to me, and made me ask myself lots of uncomfortable questions while watching. Maybe the last Hindi movie that involved me enough to distract me from myself was Omkara. I wonder which of these movies I should regard as being better – the one that held the mirror or the one that made me detached.