Of late I have been watching quite a few Scandinavian, South Korean and European movies (specifically German, Italian and French movies) and I have noticed a very striking point. The aforesaid movies have a very small exposure and are usually limited to their country audience and at times to American audience and also they are displayed in film fests.
On the other hand, we have India which approximately produces 900 movies a year and is only second to Hollywood in producing movies. The movies made in India have a huge fan base in India and outside and have considerably more exposure the Scandinavian, European movies. But what do Indian movies lack?. Many of the Scandinavian and European movies get more awards than the entire film industry in India gets. Surprisingly, in a land where 900 movies are churned out per year none of them even go to win the Oscar’s in the Best Foreign Film Category. What’s more, Indian films even fail to impress the critics at other film festivals. Whereas, the other small film making industries situated elsewhere in the world get much more favorable reviews and get more awards and in turn get a huge fan base.
Coming back to me, I was a huge fan of Indian movies until a year ago. There were many instances of me leaving important works to stay back at home to watch a movie. But the scenario changed when I actually started developing a very persistent taste towards Hollywood movies and gradually into cinema made in other languages. Here I am after a year and a half and it has been ages since I watched an Indian movies and it will only after ages will I watch an Indian movie again.
Indian movies are abnormally over hyped and lack taste and are usually filled with egoistic actors who can’t act and even more trivial heroines who can act better in porn movies. The hero is generally some politician or a Big shot’s son and so are the directors and producer’s hence forth making the relatively ‘poor’ talent available in India useless. Here are some essential points which make Indian cinema an utter disaster among its foreign counterparts,
1. Insipid stories: The main strength in any movie lies in its story. The very basic reason why movies are made is to narrate stories in such a way that the viewer feels like he is an integral part in the story. But our filthy rich Son/relative of a Big shots never understand that and generally skim off stories on a very thin thread usually consisting of Hero and Heroine and a villain with an Item number with an otherwise porn actress and also have three fights with the Hero usually bashing up the villain and then lets no forget the heroines parents who oppose her marriage with the hero and a few senti dialogues later the movies reaches its end after the Hero kills the villain. Where ever you go, whatever movie you see in India for 98% times you will find the same story.
2. Lack of Creativity: Strictly speaking as far as my guess is true a proportion of the movies released in India are lifted directly lifted from English and also from movies made in other languages. (Those who think Munnabhai M.B.B.S is an original work, here is some bad news, its heavily ripped off from a 1995 movie called ‘Houseguest’). As Hollywood movies usually fail to have the Indian nativity feel the unsolicited Indian remakes to generally lack the feel because, most of the directors simply rip off the English movies even with the dialogues!.
Most of the directors before the release of the film give speeches like, “We had a fresh script in hand and the story is simply enthralling and from the start only we wanted Hero X to act in the movie and the obvious choice for the heroine was Mrs. Exposing Chick Y. This movie has all commercial elements in place and will enthrall both the Mass audience as well as the class audience and will surely rewrite history”. Yes, in the end it does rewrite history by becoming the biggest dud in the year ;) . Every press pre-movie publicity press meet in the country would have the same dialogues except that the words will be interchanged a bit.
Another reason can be cited for the lack of creativity. Most of the directors, story writes have no primary education (as in they have degrees but they are the kind of people who passed those exams by mere copying or by pure luck, this is especially visible in their abysmal cinematic works and even more clumsy media interviews) and also make movies with one single purpose i.e to make money. This can be disastrous and we shall discuss about this point a bit later.
3. Inappropriate utilization of the Run time: Generally, all Indian movies (with an exception a few like ‘A Wednesday’) have a run time of two and a half hours to three hours. A regular Indian movie has about 6 songs (usually unauthorized rip off’s from the foreign music director’s) and each song on an average lasts for 5 minutes. That means about thirty to thirty five minutes of the two and half hours is just utilized to show case an expressionless heroine sizzling in the rain and a eunuch like actress doing a mass masala number. This type of dealing is almost absent in their foreign counterparts movies where the music is just played in the background. Songs generally dilute the content of the story and at times affect the story in such a way that the viewer can forget what happened prior to the songs.
Next comes the fighting sequences. Indian heroes are far greater than their Hollywood counterparts! If Superman and Spider-Man get their power from fictional sources but there have been many instances where are Indian ‘Heroes’ get their energy from their slapped girlfriends of tortured fellow family members or also when some goon assaults his community people. Our single ‘Hero’ gets to work and bashes all the baddies one by one (the surprising fact being, all the rowdies come in batches of tens or twenties but when it comes to hitting the ‘Hero’ they forget about teamwork and always go one by one or in pairs to get mashed by our viciously red eyed ‘Hero’!). Single handed fights and super natural stunts minced with amplified thud sounds give way to worse fight sequences. But Hello!, Its like I’m the only one bothered up here.
4. ‘Hero’ism : By mentioning Heroes I refer to the actors who play the lead roles in an Indian movie. This is the killer of all the points and also the basic reason because of which Indian movies lack substance. Apart from a movie or two almost every other movie released in India has a Hero and to partner him there is Heroine. The ‘Hero’ of the movie can do anything, fly, cry, love, flirt, romance, study and do what no other normal Indian can do. There have been many instances of films merely being made around a Hero’s image but which do not concentrate on the story.
This leads to a stereo typed movie making, because an Actor acts in movies generally having the same kind of character. (For example take Emraan Hashmi, he is suitable for being an extra but somehow bless his stars he became an actor. Nearly all his initial movies featured him as a lover boy who kisses his girlfriends whenever the story loses heat. Many heroes end up making the same type of movies except for few like Kamal Hassan and Aamir Khan). If a particular movie which belongs to ‘X’ genre featuring an actor ‘Y’ becomes a hit, the actor ‘Y’ tends to do the same role from time to time. There are many examples for this and just look at the patterns for some of the actors you follow!.
For making Indian movies better, the total concept of Hero-Fucking-ism should be banned (sorry to be abusive, but I thought a little F word could be more fruitful) as in the Hollywood movies. In English cinema, the story usually revolves around characters and not Heroes and in the end sometimes the characters outdo the lead pair in the movie (I would cite Kevin Spacey as the best example whose exemplar performances in “The Usual Suspects” , “Se7en” and “American Beauty” over shadowed the performances of other artistes.). But in India most of the action is left up to the Hero and generally the character artistes get lesser importance and hence dampen the image of the movie. Unless this is scrapped, many versatile actors present in the industry wouldn’t be able to make a mark in the film industry and also in the hearts of the people.
This war of ego’s between the lead actors and the directors often leads to a film with small doses of everything, wherein the director tries to be a Jack In All trades but ends up as the master of none.
Read the follow-up of this article in my next post scheduled to be posted anytime tomorrow or day after. Share your valuable comments with me as it would enhance my writings and also helps me to shape my thinking.
Here is a gist of Indian film stunts. To see click HERE
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