The movies had 3 or 4 themes. The most popular were action movies. The typical storyline involved hero’s dad getting murdered and mom raped. He grows up and takes revenge. But he did take his own sweet time achieving this. He found true love in the interim who also encourages him to avenge. Despite being under pressure to take revenge they would both sing and dance multiple times.
The next category had “social” movies. The poverty was shamelessly glorified. The poor people were always singing and dancing while rich were always unhappy despite all their wealth. The rich girl married a poor boy but did not respect in-laws initially. The hero slapped her a couple of times, she learns the lesson and touches mother in law’s feet.
The category my cousin hated most was “religious”. These movies had no fights, revenge or dancing. Though occasionally there could be some gems in this category such as Nagin (female snake) hooking up with a Naag (snake) after rebirth. Nagin typically danced a lot which compensated somewhat.
The dialogues could run like:
You killed my father, raped my mother, kidnapped my sister and now I kill you, you Bastard.
I am a kali (bud) but you can make me a flower. (It remained a mystery for many years for me)
We both love each other but I must sacrifice you for my best friend as he also loves you. You must also pretend that you love him so he never finds out.
I am pregnant with your child. (This obviously was an unwed mother. This caused a total scandal and MIL types opened their mouths and covered it with their hands in disgust).
I am dust beneath your feet. Please pick me up.
Do you just love my body and not the soul. I thought your love was pure.
The censor would not approve any kissing scenes. Heroine will pull her lips away at the last-minute and camera will cut to 2 roses swaying together or two frogs with their tongues out. The word of mouth carried a lot of weight. If the word went around that “heroine” has done “bold stuff” (some cleavage), it will be filled with young men. If the daughter in law learned to respect mother in law after getting slapped, it will be filled with MIL types. My cousin advised me that if I ever saw a crowd of motherly types even in close proximity to a theater, I should avoid that movie like plague. As per him ” these old hags should be spending their last days at home and not in movie theaters where a woman’s mind can become polluted”.