Book Review

How Liberalisation Impacts us, Reforms, How Bollywood Portrays them

Anil Tyagi
Vol. XIV August 2021

Alam Srinivas a veteran journalist has written a wonderful book, “How Liberalisation impacts us, Reforms, How Bollywood Portrays them”. Taking the examples of films, how films portrays the issues has splendidly explained by Alam Srinivas.   With more than three decades of experience as an investigative business journalist, Alam Srinivas explores the nexus between Big Government and Big Business and exposes the underbelly of economic reforms. He has worked with prestigious media organizations such as the Times of India, India Today, Outlook, San Jose Mercury News, and He is an author of several books, appears as an expert on news channels and radio, and gives lectures in colleges and B-Schools.

In the first chapter he opens up the issue of “How wealth is no longer a dirty word and its pursuit is endemic. The contours of money are ephemeral and fleeting, as they are based on paper (stock) valuations. There are changes in the poster boys of India Inc.

The title of the chapter is “MADE IN CHINA MAKE IN INDIA”. In this chapter he mentions the names of films like Raid (2018); Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009); Guru (2007); Sui Dhaaga (2018); Made In China (2019); Corporate (2006) and explains the issue.

There are 16 Chapters in the book and each chapter explains the saga of common and issues and how the movies has influenced our thinking pattern. Just go through the chapters and one will come to know how brilliantly Alam has elaborated his perception mentioning movies.

Upstarts and Pad Man Rise of Professional-Entrepreneurs (Brahmin

Businesspersons). Knowledge is the key, as entrepreneurship is democratized. The class and caste divide remains.Movies: Pad Man (2018); Pyaar Impossible(2010); Upstarts (2019),

Page-3 Infliction ntrepreneurship blooms due to networks based on family and caste. They morph into collaborative partnerships across nationalitiesand identities, and through Page-3 associations. Movies: Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993); Gurgaon (2016); Page 3 (2005); Badmaash,Company (2010)


Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

The obsession with brands and choices, engulfs the middle class due to three A’s (availability,  accessibility and acceptability) and two S’s (social status and self-esteem). The distinction between salad bowl and melting pot remains, as it is fragmented.

Movies: Dil Chahta Hai (2001); Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011); HumAapke Hai Kaun (1994); Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995); Kuch Kuch

Hota Hai (1998)

Hamari Sullu

No one has a fix on the size of the middle class, which ranges from 25 million to 700 million. It is “conceived, packaged and sold” to sellers and investors. The contentious comparisons: income versus wealth, and consumers versus aspirers/strivers.

Movies: Swades (2004); Khosla Ka Ghosla (2004); Tumhari Sullu (2017); Gully Boy (2019); Mere Dad Ki Maruti (2013); Maska (2020); Fashion (2008); Gangoobai (2013)


Udta Punjab in Peepli Live

The Magnificent Seven FMs, the passionate roselytizers wrongly claim that reforms help the have-nots more than the rich. The number of the

poor remains high at 200-300 million. There are links between farmers’ protests, MSPs, and exaggerated claims in the Budget speeches.Movies: Mother India (1957); Do Bheega Zameen (1953); Roti (1974); Upkaar (1967); Guide (1965); Manthan (1976); Project Marathwada (2016); Peepli Live (2010); Kisaan (2009); Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (2013); Udta Punjab (2016)

Jab We Met In Swades The jobs conundrum – how to reconcile the two trends that there are more jobs due to the invisible hand, as also eras of no-jobs and less-jobs.There are other contradictions – mysterious case of vanishing women labor, and women empowerment due to MNREGA. Movies: Sonali Cable (2014); Jab We Met (2007); Queen (2014); 99.9 FM,(2005); Dev D (2009)


 Chak De India, MS Dhoni

Huge MSD doses are injected into cricket and its administration. The game is commercialized. Telecast rights attract billions of dollars. Thedressing room changes as players hail from small states and towns. Movies: Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India (2001); Chak De! India,(2007); MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016); 22 Yards (2018), The Fixing in Jannat Inflows of dollars, digitization, and decimation of underworld’s businesses boost betting and match fixing. Gambling is mafia’s new manna due to the opening up of the economy. Mumbai blasts and terror aid the trend. Movies: Jannat (2008); Azhar (2016); Iqbal (2005)

EMIs ki Pagalpanti

The credit culture, mindset to ‘buy now, pay later’, and ‘spend someone else’s money’ liberates and strangulates us. We become risk takers as we take our chances and bet our lives on the stock roulette.Movies: EMI (2008); Desi Boyz (2011); Saare Jahaan Se Mehnga (2013); Home Delivery (2005); Pagalpanti (2019)

The Baazaar after Scam 92 Reforms abet stock scandals. Big bulls like Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh become heroes, and nosedive in disgrace. The regulators doze off, and policy makers hope to prop up the market.Movies: Baazaar (2018); Gafla (2006); Scam 92 (2020)


What Is Mobile Number?

As the mobile, Internet, and digital culture afflicts us, we are both freer and slaves to technology. Our lives turn topsy-turvy as we grapple with virtual connectivity, as opposed to physical interactions.Movies: Haseena Maan Jayegi (1999); 3G (2013); Ragini MMS (2011); Rajma Chawal (2018); Hacked (2020); Mickey Virus (2013); Kalyug (2005);Teen Patti (2010); Table No. 21 (2013); Sabki Band Bajegi (2015); Tashan(2008); Green Card Fever (2003); Hello (2008); Ek Chalis Ki Last Local(2007)

 The Faltu 3 Idiots

Liberalization unleashes forces that improve and destroy the education,system. It forces people to focus on exams to succeed in the dog-eat-dog

corporate world. It disconnects us from nature and environment.Movies: 3 Idiots (2009); FALTU (2011); Hindi Medium (2017); Why Cheat,India (2019); Munna Bhai MBBS (2003); Waiting (2015); Aisa Yeh Jahaan(2015); Zor Laga Ke… Haiya (2009); Blackboard vs Whiteboard (2019)


Ab Tak Do Hazaar

Corruption grows with higher economic growth, and ease of doing,business enhances the ease of earning illegal profits. Fissures in mafias and

rise in regional political parties shift rent collection from the Center to, states, and from the districts to state capitals.Movies: Company (2002); Satya (1998); Ab Tak Chappan (2004); Mumbhai,Connection (2014); The Accidental Prime Minister (2019); Apharan (2005)

Oye Lucky Lucky Oye!

We are conmen in our own ways. This is true of the rich and middle,classes. We are hypocrites, and have double standards when we judge,ourselves and others. We blame the better-off socio-economic classes.Movies: Bunty Aur Babli (2005); Oye Lucky Lucky Oye! (2008),ChapterNew Money-Go-RoundsDomestic black money goes out and, instead of being hidden in tax havens, makes round trips back to India. The judiciary sticks to laws, which are made by those who remain unruffled. It’s a trippy experience.Movies: Gupt (1997); Deewaar (1975); Don (1978)

If you like the film and desire to understand how the system works , read the book. Pages 171.


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