Bollywood has been known for its extravagant & outside the country shoot locales. The valleys of Switzerland and European tours though common, seemed lacking a general connection with the audience. Thankfully, that has changed for better. Movies today are more local, based on realistic characters and plots that most can relate to. With this imminent shift in cinema, cities that had been overlooked for many years, are now being showcased in their full glory, Kanpur being one of them.
Though, we cannot hide our excitement on seeing a familiar road, a known locality and our favourite actor on the streets of city, there's a lot that the movies miss. They not only categorise the city and its people in clearly labeled boxes but the stereotypes, are appalling too. Here's a list of 5 stereotypes about Kanpur that we're tired of seeing in Bollywood movies.
Bollywood never gives up on its obsession of gutka and paan, while depicting a character that belongs to UP-Bihar. Yet, not all of us are always chewing on beetle leaves and you can make a character seem authentic without promoting the habit or reinstating people's interest in it.
Bacchhan Bhaiya (Javed Jaffri) in Bala, Bunty (Abhishek Bacchhan) in Bunty aur Babli and even Tanu's dad in Tanu weds Manu are case on point.
Why is it that every time we see a somewhat believable character from the town on-screen, they're portrayed as some sort of a goon who has to have their way. Not all of us are blood thirsty, we have our share of soft spoken, decent, peace loving people. And though we may seem blunt and irksome, most of us do not jump from rooftops with a sword in our hands.
Yes, we're talking about Salman Khan's Dabangg and countless characters in the movie that were ready to kill for no apparent reason at all.
Yes, Thaggu Ke Laddoo are a famous thing about the city. Yes, they are delicious and yes we do love the delectable delicacy. However, Kanpur has a lot more to offer in terms of food than what is shown. Kanpur has a lot in terms of street food, plus the local grub here is unparalleled!
Bunty aur Babli's establishment shots were that of the laddoo shop and event their title track has the tagline of the shop "Aisa koi saga nahin jisko thaga nahin".
Yes, Lucknow is a more developed city than Kanpur, it is also the capital of Uttar Pradesh. But let us assure you, Kanpurites do not need to run to the capital every time we need something good and above standard. We have the Z-square for all the fashionable brands we could ask for and the local shops are a go-to for all ethnic needs.
Unlike Tanu from Tanu weds Manu, we do not run to Lucknow for our 'shaadi ki shopping', we do it right here in the city.
Another common stereotype about Kanpur are the narrow, messy colonies that are often shown in the movies. The un-plastered houses and the peeling paint might do good for the movies but it is not what Kanpur is all about. The wide roads of Civil Lines, Cantt, Tilak Nagar and Swaroop Nagar are never called to the rescue and only the worst of the city is put on a display.
From Baala to Tanu weds Manu, we've seen several examples of this happening in the movies and the one sided portrayal isn't something we are a fan of.
Kanpur is so much more than the gutka you might see people chewing, the potholed roads, the Bhojpuri speaking uncles and the nosy aunties. We have a culture of revolution and struggle, we've been the industrial hub for North India and there is so much to see here than what the movies depict.