From: Sanjeev Nayyar
I am not a regular movie viewer. However, I was cajoled into watching the Salman Khan-starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan and I was surprised at the director's treatment of the subject. The majority of Indians were projected as narrow-minded, conservative, and discriminating. However, a majority of the Pakistanis were shown as open-minded and non-discriminating. This led me to empirically examine if this portrayal is a one-off presentation of stereotypicality or largely prevalent in Bollywood films.
Existing research in the domain of influence of movies on youth indicates that films significantly influence the behaviour, thoughts and emotions of the viewers. Researchers in the North American and western European context have empirically established that there are movie scripts and cognitions that increase physiological arousal and trigger an automatic tendency to imitate observed behaviours.
In other words, a stereotypical presentation of various religious groups and castes in the Indian context may influence attitudes towards that particular group. Consequently, it may be interesting to first examine the presence of stereotypicality in Bollywood scripts and its presentation. Next, such a study may assist in understanding the influence of stereotypicality on attitude towards that particular community.