Settings in Bollywood Cinema: “Bobby” Movie

There are many reasons for people to love and hate Bollywood. Annually, Bollywood introduces about one thousand feature movies and hundreds of short films.1 On the one hand, the quality, motives, and the development of the events seem to be predictable, not interesting, or even boring. On the other hand, millions of viewers admire the beauty of the settings, the uniqueness of songs, and the colorfulness of costumes. Instead of searching for some new explanations of why it is better to avoid or watch Hindi movies, it is necessary to underline the fact that it is still one of the largest and most known film industries in the world. It is characterized by creative art and the ability to entertain and educate at the same time. The analysis of the film style is an integral step in understating cinema, and the uniqueness of Indian cinema deserves special attention.2 In this paper, the reading by Dwyer and Patel will be used to comprehend the beauty and worth of settings and costumes in Indian cinema through the prism of the movie Bobby (Kapoor, 1973).

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In 1973, Raj Kapoor introduced one of the most recognizable hits in the history of Bollywood cinema. During the first months of its distribution, it was defined as “a sort of ‘Love Story’ Indian style” with “the biggest movie success in years”.3 The strengths of the film included the participation of two new remarkable stars, Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia, several strong musical elements, beautiful landscapes, and unpredictable fashion decisions. It was based on the development of loving affairs between a rich Hindi boy, Raj, and a poor Christian girl, Bobby. Firstly, young people believed that friendship was the best gift they could use in their lives. In a short period, their feelings became stronger and resulted in the necessity to resist their fathers’ discontent with their relationships. Bobby differs from other movies of that period due to several educative phrases and behaviors, according to which “the world is moving fast, and, we all have to keep up with it”.4 Among other distinctive features of the film, it is possible to underline the choice of locations and looks of the major characters chosen by the director.

Kapoor has gained the fame of one of the greatest directors and producers of Hindi films in the middle of the nineteenth century. Although he has never lived in a village, he made strong attempts to compare and differentiate the styles of life village inhabitants preferred and the opportunities of people from cities. The central meaning of the reading by Dwyer and Patel is to underline the peculiarity of visuality in Bollywood cinema.5 Village women were portrayed as innocent and pure, while the city was a place of corruption that lacked human values and compassion.6 Kapoor did not focus on the way of how city life could change a young village girl but underline the richness of city opportunities and its access to people from different income levels. Bobby and Raj visited the library, cafes, and a swimming pool with beds of flowers and beautiful colors.

At the same time, the choice of settings proved that locations might not perform a leading role in human relations but their imagination. When the pair was locked in the room, they opened their minds to a variety of places where impressive landscapes, fresh air, and freedom were around.7 Bobby is one of the strongest pieces of evidence that Bollywood movies have their language.8 The task of a viewer is to interpret the messages of the crew, use the already developed biases and knowledge, and enjoy the story.

Another unique feature of the movie under analysis is the choice of costumes for the characters. Bobby turned out to be a successful attempt to bring Western fashion to India. Scarves for both men and women served as a unique attribute in the movie. Raj wore sunglasses, a leather jacket, and flared pants, which was not inherent for Indian people. Compared to a national Indian sari, Bobby preferred to wear short dresses and skirts, the swimsuit and blouse that could hardly hide the heroine’s body.9 Dimple Kapadia, the actress who performed the role of Bobby, stunned the Indian public when we walked out of a swimming pool in a red bikini with the major part of her body being naked. Firstly, the color of the suit has to be underlined because this choice proved the rebellion and innovative intentions of the director to break all the possible rules in the Bollywood industry. Secondly, it was not just a wet sari that could be acceptable and less provocative. Still, Bobby’s look did not humiliate the actress but underlined her beauty and its power over men.

Taking into consideration the achievements of the director and the performance of the major characters, the film Bobby became an icon for other products of Bollywood. It was not only an introduction of a new style and a new stage in human relationships. The movie was an example of how people were able to combine fashion, social rules, class inequality, and personal biases and live a life full of adventures, controversies, and desires. The themes of child-parent relationships, religion, and hierarchies in society could not be neglected. However, it seems that the director did not want to develop dry dialogues and informative speeches, but to support them with picturesque landscapes and colors in costumes. Bobby helps to understand the theoretical and practical aspects of the arguments presented by Dwyer and Patel in their discussion about film styles and the role of settings and costumes, in particular. A variety of buildings, the presence of flowers, and later became the symbols of freedom and beauty in India.

In conclusion, the relationship between the chosen reading by Dwyer and Patel and the Bollywood movie Bobby is evident and education. In addition to the director’s intention to bring several new details to the film industry in India, Kapoor showed how rebellion in settings and costumes could become an icon in the industry. Some people were not ready to accept the story of young Raj and Bobby because of the already formulated biases and attitudes towards fashion, traditions, and social norms. However, the popularity of the movie and the recognition of Raj Kapoor as the father of a new film style in Bollywood prove the correctness of the choices made and the acumen of the team. Original looks, westernization, and natural landscapes open a new page in the history of Hindi culture and the progress of the Indian population. Female obedience was not the major topic of Bollywood movies anymore as it was lost in a variety of unpredictable settings and provocative costumes.

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Bobby. Directed by Raj Kapoor. Performed by Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia. Mumbai: R. K. Films, 1973. DVD.

Dwyer, Rachel, and Divia Patel. Cinema India: The Visual Culture of Hindi Film. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2002.

Jalan, Sarika, Camellia Sarkar, Anagha Madhusudanan, and Sanjiv Kumar Dwivedi. “Uncovering Randomness and Success in Society.” PLoS One 9, no. 2 (2014): 1-8. Web.

Rao, Sri. Bollywood Kitchen: Home-Cooked Indian Meals Paired with Unforgettable Bollywood Films. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.

Weinraub, Bernard. “Karma of ‘Bobby’ Lovers Stirs India’s Filmgoers.” The New York Times, 1973. Web.


  1. Sarika Jalan, Camellia Sarkar, Anagha Madhusudanan, and Sanjiv Kumar Dwivedi, “Uncovering Randomness and Success in Society,” PLoS One 9, no. 2 (2014): 1, Web.
  2. Rachel Dwyer and Divia Patel, Cinema India: The Visual Culture of Hindi Film (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2002), 42.
  3. Bernard Weinraub, “Karma of ‘Bobby’ Lovers Stirs India’s Filmgoers, ” The New York Times, Web.
  4. Bobby, dir. by Raj Kapoor, perf. by Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia (Mumbai: R. K. Films, 1973), DVD.
  5. Dwyer and Patel, Cinema India, 43.
  6. Ibid., 64.
  7. Bobby, dir. by Raj Kapoor, perf. by Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia (Mumbai: R. K. Films, 1973), DVD.
  8. Sri Rao, Bollywood Kitchen: Home-Cooked Indian Meals Paired with Unforgettable Bollywood Films (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), 6.
  9. Dwyer and Patel, Cinema India, 64.
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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Settings in Bollywood Cinema: "Bobby" Movie." July 12, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Settings in Bollywood Cinema: "Bobby" Movie'. 12 July.

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