Movies That Shaped Our Generation – Done To Death Tropes

Jaibala/ April 5, 2017/ Musings/ 22 comments

Bollywood is known for its formals and tropes that most of its films reverts to on a regular basis. I thought it would be fun to explore some of these tropes that have been done to death.

What were the basic formuale of the biggest masala films? Lets talk about some common tropes that Bollywood loves to Explore. Read on & find out what I am going to write all April. Read on and find out Join here for the free NewsLetter delivered right into your inbox


Every Bollwood film has a basic formula, a masala that makes it interesting. But the fact of the matter is that Masalas also need to follow their specific recipes to get it right in the end. There are the top five formula or tropes that Bollywood used in most of the movies that I saw growing up.

The most famous one was the Boy meets girl Story. One of them is rich and one of them poor, they fall in love and surprise surprise the rich family does not like it at all. The poor half of the relationship is termed as a gold digger and the couple spends the entire movie fighting against all odds and all is well in the end.(I am not even going to begin listing movies for this one)

Then we had the Daku’s holding an entire village or town to ransom, and the hero, or band of heroes miraculously rescue the entire town in the end, without the help or interference of the police. When the Daku’s graduated to being gangsters, The Police and Goverment was usually in cahoots with the gangsters and our heroes emerged as truly heroic. (Parinda, Hum and so many more)

The there were the ghost and reincarnations. Ghosts (Razz anyone) and rebirths  (a la Karan Arjun) happened all the time, and the sole purpose was to avenge their own deaths.

We also had the famous love triangles. This is they way they usually worked. Boy/Girl 1 loves Girl/Boy 2. But Girl/Boy 1 has fallen in love with Boy/Girl 3 who reciprocated the feeling. Now this could go two ways
1) Number 1 decides to kill number 3 and succeeds but ends up losing 2 to death too (usually Suicide) and this goes the Reincarnation way. OR
2) Number 1 and Number 3compete for the affection of 2’s family and during the course of events 1 realises their folly and walks away.

And lastly there were those friendship stories. Two boys or girls are friends and something comes between them. If its love, then look at the paragraph above because thats a triangle. But if it is business or something else then it goes the Ram Lakhan way. Brother against Brother, Friend Vs Friend and that makes the story interesting or rather predictable.


There are so many tropes that bollywood masala movies depend on. Do you enjoy those movies? Which are your absolute favourites? Do you think there are any classic formulae that I have forgotten?



I am doing this A to Z Challenge in collaboration with Chandni Moudgil of Life In Third Dimension, where she will be speaking of women in contemporary cinema. Between us we are going to cover Bollywood  movies that were powerful enough to shape our generation.

If you find my theme and collaboration interesting, follow our blogs or follow us on twitter here and here to get the latest updates all April.

Every day I will be sharing other blogs that I find interesting throughout this challenge. Here are today’s recommendations.

For a daily dose of Inspiration visit Ankita’s blog where she is sharing so really inspiring quotes.

For your daily literary fix visit Soumya’s blog where she is talking about books all this month.

About Jaibala

Academically a Microbiologist, I am a Web Columnist for popular magazines and websites, Freelance Writer and a Blogger. Words define me and writing and reading compete to be the love of my life. My biggest belief is that there is something good in everything and I always looks to highlight the best in things. Creative writing is my forte.You can reach me by dropping a mail at


  1. Ohh these troupes, I remember them so well. Even though many of them are done-to-death by now, they were still better quality movies than the troupes Bollywood dishes out these days.

    No, just the presence of troupes doesn’t bother me, as long as it is executed well, and is given a fresh perspective. Like Badrinath Ki Dulhania recently – I loved that movie!
    Shantala recently posted…Quarterly Goals Update (Jan – Mar 2017)My Profile

    1. Yes, fresh perspectives, innovative direction all that makes us forget that the film is based on a trope.

  2. Ha ha! At some point in time I used to enjoy but soon they became very predictable and I lost all interest.
    Parul Thakur recently posted…G for Good girl #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

    1. I love it when some people bring innovation into the predictability, but that is really rare.

  3. I don’t usually like to watch movies which have plots that are way older than I am. I prefer watching few movies because of the same reason: very few movies try out something new plot-wise, and even fewer are successful at it.

    But sometimes a little bit of mindless pleasure is required, and I guess that’s the reason why some people prefer watching such movies? Because you’re always assured of a happy ending!
    Mithila Menezes @fabulus1710 recently posted…Fame, the fickle and flighty temptress #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

    1. Absolutely like SRK said in OSO “if its not happy, its not the end”

  4. Haha! I confess, when I am in the mood for some ‘Bollywood Masala’, I watch them. Well, that is what masala is all about right? 😛
    I loved this post the best!
    Shalini recently posted…Egg Curry | Chettinad StyleMy Profile

    1. True Masala is all about a set formula.

  5. Oh and thanks for the shout out… that is so sweet of you!
    Anks recently posted…#AtoZChallenge : Dr Seuss QuoteMy Profile

  6. Oh the formulae…. there was a big 70s formula:. happy household, new bahu, divides the family. They used to play these kind of “family movies” on Doordarshan! Does this come under contemporary?

    Then the bichade hue Judwaan bacche… how many movies were made on this theme? Starting with Ram aur Shyam, Seeta aur Geeta, Kishan Kanhaiya and then Chaalbaaz!
    Anks recently posted…#AtoZChallenge : Dr Seuss QuoteMy Profile

    1. Yes, the saas-bahu formula inspires a lot of television even today.I forgot twins *facepalm*

  7. I wouldn’t say I dislike such a movie, but after a while, they all tend to be the same, I guess. Not memorable.
    Vinay Leo R. recently posted…#AtoZChallenge 2017 – D for DuskMy Profile

    1. I agree, the problem is not that they cannot be liked, but that they end up being the same as the others.

  8. Well, I’d say you find these kind of trope in any cinema tradition, they are quite common. Especially the first and the second, I’d say.
    I don’t inerently hate tropes, they exist for a reason. It’s just when they fall flat that I dont’ like them. But evena a story based on one of these tropes may become very intersting and involving if well-handled.
    JazzFeathers recently posted…Damaged Hero (1940s Film Noir – #AtoZChallenge)My Profile

    1. I agree, I just saw an interesting reincarnation story and was mind blown.

  9. Yup, you’ve covered them all. All such set patterns 🙂 I think the first one still holds the largest chunk.
    Sreesha recently posted…Demons | #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

    1. 🙂 True so true.

  10. ‘mele mein bichde hue bhai bhai’ who go on to become cop and robber only to unite at the end.

    Vikram Bhatt’s staple storyline – get married. Get possessed. Get exorcised with Hanuman chalisa. 🙂
    Roshan Radhakrishnan recently posted…Maggie Doyne is a Shining Example of Selfless Devotion #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

    1. How did I forget Kumbh ka mela. Thanks for the reminder my long lost Kumbh Sibling. And yes the Vikram Bhat formula, also includes a certain stereotypical heroine.

  11. LOL. These tropes hold good even today. Every now and then bollywood brings in the magic of the same old formula till date only with more modernized masala of slang, social media love, and location shifted to New York.

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this Jaibala

    1. Haha true. There are only so many formulae. Thank You Medha.

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