This is the follow up to mu previous post, “Indian Cinema: On the verge Of a Creative Famine? Part I”.
In the previous post we have dealt about four points why Indian cinema is lost in the minds of global audience. I have stated four points as the probable reasons, they are:
· Insipid Stories
· Lack Of Creativity
· Inappropriate Utilization of Run Time
I will state three more reasons in this post, so keep your eyes glued to the monitor as I start off.
1. Lack Of Nativity: When was the last time you saw a Bollywood film set completely in India, including the songs?. Well, I can only remember ‘Iqbal’ but my Bollywood knowledge being weak I can’t remember others. Indian filmmakers have long forgotten the beauty of India and the film makers mostly scalp their stories in and around America and at times in European countries (Karan Johar is the leader of this, as far as I know he is a traitor for Indian cinema as he mostly revolves Indian village dramas in foreign locales).
I guess Indian cinema is the only one to adapt to western conditions and cultures more. The use of a sari by most of the Bollywood’s top heroines has been long forgotten and they most of the times expose bare skin to make up for their horrible acting. The culture and traditions of India have been long forgotten in Bollywood movies and the regional language movies also have taken cue (At this point, Tamil films are far better, Tamilians have immense respect for their culture).
Nowadays, Indian movies are being released simultaneously in foreign countries too. Except for a few the rest are duds. What would any NRI want from an Indian film?. Foreign locales?, No, he could go anywhere he wanted to.
Item girls and Bikini babes? – An obvious No, as mostly Indian films are released in U.S.A and U.K where one can have enough doses of entertainment if they go to beaches.
Then what does a really homesick person living in a far of land want?
I say any NRI or for instance any movie buff would like to know more about the country, culture and people where the film is set in. As a movie enthusiast whenever I see a foreign film (apart from the English ones) I first give preference to movies which enlighten our grey cells more about their country. At this juncture, the Indian directors and producers have forgotten this point and they have taken their rotten stories to foreign locales just to hide the flaws in the story with the beauty of the location.
[I would like to add this incident which happened a few months ago in my house. Our Servant maid was watching a teen college flick, which centered around college life and mostly more around the love affairs between students. I was just into an Engineering college then, and my Servant maid who hails from a remote village asked my mom, “Amma, does everyone in college fall in love with girls? Does Pawan Babu also have girlfriends like shown in the movie?”
My mother was shocked and she couldn’t shoot a reply and she gave an answer which somewhat sounded like, “Cheap films – Children watch – get spoilt – future wasted”.
Our Servant maid was prompt to reply saying that, “I won’t send my daughter to college, given how the life in a college really is in the movie”
My Mom didn’t have a reply and so did I.
The film I am talking happened to be the biggest hit of 2007 in Telugu and the director was shot into fame, but believe me the movie was utter CRAP!.]
2. The Audience Factor: Indian audience no matter where they live never grew up. Sorry for being bland but that is the truth. And do you want an evidence?. Here it is, even the dumbest of the dumb movies are becoming huge successes and grossing huge amounts which in fact they do not deserve. The films with cheap sets, flimsy actors, icky dialogues, bizarre stunts are being made on a repetitive basis as the previous movies made on these themes made big bucks at the box office. There are in fact people who indeed watch such movies with awe.
For Indian movies to mature, the mindset of the audience should change. They should become receptive with bold cinema and also get used to movies which run on a shorter length. Well, someone has to pioneer in making this type of cinema in India. People living in the metros will be ready to accept the change but the rest are maybe quite insensitive in the start but as times proceeds the audience themselves will feel at ease (Remember, when 20-20 was first introduced, many people displayed their fears saying the introduction of such a short format will destroy the essence of the game, but now 20-20 format is ruling the game, with the other formats intact as before!)
3. Movies are being considered as a storehouse of money: A movie is a work of art. In olden days dedicated directors like Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor used to make movies out of dedication and solely with a purpose of delivering a social message to the audience. But these days the scenario has changed, almost all the directors (minus Mani Ratnam, who made a master pieces like ‘Anjali’, ’Geetanjali’ and ‘Iddaru’ in times where the Indian film industry was focusing more on commercial elements) are making movies only for the sake of money. Not only the directors, but even the producers, actors, crew and every last person in the field are only working for money.
Here I want to cite the examples of director Darren Aronofsky who made the movie ‘Pi’ with a shoe string budget of $60,000, read more about it here. Swedish director Roy Andersson had to wait for two years before he could make out the movie ‘Du Levande’ which went to become a commercial success later on but at one point during the shooting of the movie had to stop filming due to lack of funds. There are many many more good films which were made with financial constraints like, ‘Reservoir Dogs’, ‘Halloween’ so on and so forth. But the budgets did not become an issue as the directors took a risk and they were dedicated towards the job.
It has been proved many times in the past that dedication is the key to any successful venture. Even if children were to join in schools and colleges just for the sake of a job/money then the education has no worth but if they study for the sake of knowledge, they can do wonders. Same applies to movies or any other field.
So an ideal Indian can be done my scrapping all the songs and instead having background scores like in English movies, reducing the stardom of the already existing actors/actresses by telling them what cinema really is. Doing of vulgar and crude comedies/skin shows and for the sake of the Mass audience a steamy scene could be added. Focusing more on Indian mythology will also help (when was the last time a main stream mythological film was produced?). Gradually the people will get used to the change and tend to support diverse form of cinema and then start a trend wherein all Indians would be done proud all over the world.
Indian film industry to survive the globalization of cinema and the ongoing recession should focus more upon its story, script and direction instead of stressing upon the actors and special effects/stunts. India has the immense capacity to become the world leader in the field of cinema by making more sensible movies on much more diverse themes and topics and also making bold moves. Even production companies instead of hiring old directors and also taking directors who are the son/grandsons/friends of politicians and all should focus more upon aggregating the immense creative power available in the youth nowadays. Certainly then, one could be proud showing off an Indian cinema to a foreigner saying, “It’s our cinema, period.”
[Dedicated to Mihir , Aparna , Anil, Apurv , Ravindra, Avrs and all the others who have encouraged me to write this post!]