Personally, I’m a big fan of musicals. Why not, they’re great! The combination of acting, singing and dancing is truly a spectacle the amazes me every time. The songs, the dances, the colors, and the stories are very engaging and well-made/practiced and are given a lot of effort and requires a lot of talent than other types of storytelling. And since I’m a Filipino who saw a lot of musicals on stage and in movies, I just realized that there isn’t much of this type of entertainment that I love in my beloved country, the Philippines. And I just thought, why not implement it in our entertainment? On this blog, I will write my reasons why our entertainment must try putting an effort into it.
SO, WHY MUSICALS?
First of all, Music: Singing, Dancing, and playing with the instruments existed way, way back in time. It’s one of (if it isn’t) the biggest, most popular, and most entertaining way of entertainment known. It does not only keep you happy by just watching it, but also amazes you each time you experience the synchronized dancing, the harmony of different voices singing together, and the exaggeration and perfection of the movements done by the actors.
Music is also everywhere, in your phone, in the television, in the radio, in your head, everywhere! Even if you’re not a fan of a movie or something, it will be known to you with its music as the top advertising tool. For example, I don’t think everyone knows or loves Frozen before it’s most famous song “Let it Go” became a hit to everyone. Even the people who does not care about children movies somehow becomes aware of the movie because of the song. Another example are Filipino commercials: Rejoice’s songs such as “Walang Sabit” and “Sumusunod sa Galaw Mo”, Knorr’s “Makulay ang Buhay”, Datu Puti’s “Sakto”, and even Coca-Cola’s chant “Ito ang Beat” were all hits because of their music. Their products were made known by their music and their commercials were loved. I think these are sufficient examples of how music, being a popular form of entertainment, can also be an important tool in advertisements.
The question now is…
Why Musicals in Movies?
Musicals are first and best known in stage plays. However, that will take more time, effort, and money (for both the producers and audience) than just making it into a movie. American movies, which is second in popularity after Filipino movies in the Philippines, already had a lot of world known musicals in movies such as High School Musical, Hairspray, and Camp Rock, all targeted to the youth. Those movies boomed in popularity everywhere, and I’m sure it would do the same for a country who would also make a world-class musical in their movies.
To answer the question though, why musicals in movies? What would happen if Filipino movies do so?
One thing I thought of is, we will have a very meaningful competition in showbusiness. The really talented and effort-filled actors would be known. Those who can actually sing, dance, and act at the same time, not just popular actors whose movies does not require much effort. (I’m not saying that their movies are effortless, I’m just saying that for one to be talented in singing, dancing, and acting at the same time, one needs a lot of effort and practice to do so). Our celebrities’ willingness to learn and adjust would be challenged and competitions would not just be in terms of stories, acting, and actor popularity, but also in terms of how good the songs are, the dances are, and also a lot more factors to consider. Our actors would have more growth with musicals.
Implementing musicals in Filipino movies would also boost the popularity of Filipino movies in other countries. Since music is a great form of advertisement, even if people from different lands do no have a clue about what the music is saying, just the tone, the dance, anything in the music can be enough to leave it repeating in one’s head. Take Kpop and Jpop into consideration. I’m sure a lot of people who knows Psy’s songs like Oppa Gangnam Style and Gentleman, or EXO and Girls’ Generation songs became somewhat more knowledgeable to korean culture and Korea itself just because of the songs. If you were to ask Filipinos which language would they like to learn, a lot would answer Japanese or Korean just because of their entertainment. Prior to Korea’s entertainment boom, Japan was a more popular country and Korea was just at the side. Now, Korea rose up and leveled against Japan in terms of how many people loved to know more about a foreign country other than America. India, another country in which I begun to love it’s entertainment, is another one that I would like to talk about. But I’ll talk more about it later.
Lastly, it will also enrich Filipino OPMs. More songs will be added to our beloved Original Filipino Music. The songs that we will hear in the radio will have meaning and will usually have a story attached to it.
Take India’s Bollywood as an example
Let me first tell you about my conception of India before.
My image of India before was such in the Slumdog Millionaire movie. Not to offend, but I’m just saying what I thought before. It’s dirty, it’s crowded, it’s smelly, it’s poor, and Philippines is better than it, maybe also in terms or entertainment.
Now, my image of India is:
Since the day I watched Aamir Khan’s “3 Idiots”, I loved it so much that I checked on other movies that he had. I have also never had a ‘Favorite Actor’ before, but now Aamir Khan is the one. And who would have thought that my favorite actor would be Indian! (I didn’t mean to discriminate but, again, I’m just saying what I felt). And now I think that Indian movies are much much more superior and entertaining that Philippine movies, which is sad.
India’s Bollywood movies normally have music and musicals. The songs are originally composed and are fit to the movie. The performances are very beautiful and will leave you loving Indian songs and language as you become more exposed to them. Actually now, I have a playlist of Indian songs which I never thought I would be a fan of.
The competition is also tight. As far as I know, there is what they call “3 Khans” (Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, and Salman Khan) competing against each other in terms of their movie hits (friendly competition of course). And personally, I think it’s great to have that competition. I think it’s very healthy for the entertainment industry to have their actors do more in each movie that they have. It amazes me to see how far Indian movies can go, despite my first image of the country.
According to Southern Vision in its article “The Ten Best Countries for Film Production”, India ranks 4th. And according to The Top Tens.com‘s Most Musical Countries, India ranks 7th while Philippines is 19th.
With all of this…
How does Philippines Fair?
Well, for me, with a few more effort to implement musicals in Filipino entertainment, we can compete with America and India. Why?
- Philippines is already known as one of the countries who loves music! We, Filipinos are music-lovers, from Videoke, to singing competitions, to our fandom with the Voice, to Dubsmash, and Lip Sync battles.
- Filipinos are great in composing songs. We have a lot of super talented composers, so I don’t think composing new hit songs that would be international-worthy would be a problem.
- Filipinos are good at English. If we won’t compose Filipino songs, we can also do so in the English language which is a very big advantage to the country.
- We have already done it before. I have seen Filipino movies with music in it, like Dolphy’s movies and Filipino musicals. Sadly, our musicals are very old. Kudos to “I Do Bidoo Biddo” movie that meets my expectation of a musical with their dances. However, since they used already existing songs by APO Hiking Society (which is also good), I wish we can make another musical on that level with new songs.
In conclusion, I just wish and dream that Filipino movies would be more like the countries who did a fantastic job with their musicals. Even if Philippines is a third world country, we have a lot of talent. In fact, Filipinos are known by other countries as great singers. And why not? India is also a third-world country. If they can do it, why can’t we?
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