Tag Archives: India

Is it depicting reality? Let’s ban.

“When I heard about the documentary I was hurt. Under no circumstances should this be telecast. So we got a restraining order from the court.” Rajnath Singh.

We cannot ever define a criteria for a ban. There is no direct rule that tells us to ban something. But do we have one in India? Is there a ban on anything that depicts the reality or the truth behind the most grotesque happenings in this country? Are we only banning things that we want to hide? That’s a question many people want to ask our Government. There is another question that not only goes to the Government but to the people of India as a whole. WHY do we get offended SO easily? What is the reason? If there is a person in this country who gets offended with the kind of films Salman Khan acts in, repeatedly, he or she does not go and watch it anymore. They may think it is a waste of their time. But if there are people who do not appreciate AIB roast or are offended by it, there is no “I don’t like it, I won’t watch it” for them. Immediately, all those people, most of whom probably abuse in their daily lives as well, have their morals hurt. They turn into saints and start having a problem with what other people like. We constantly try to portray our society as a beautiful little flower with not a spec of dirt on it. This inference is either gained by walking around the streets blindly, not watching a single news channel or reading a single newspaper or just plain “I cannot accept the shit that’s around me” attitude.

We have a member of the censor board who I won’t name, comes on Arnab Goswami’s dramatic showdown one night and tells us about how even if there is a film depicting the underworld, the characters are supposed to speak in socially acceptable language. Who are we kidding? Has this gentleman ever walked in the street? Has this gentleman ever sat in a bus? In a train? Has he even gotten out of his house? This is the denial that is costing us on a daily basis. Does he live in his self crafted reality in which he walks around the country with every body speaking socially and morally acceptable language and every unmarried person roaming on the streets as a virgin? If not, why should the artist be constrained to tell his or her stories in not only an unrealistic way but in a stupid, senseless, baseless, and irrelevant way only because a group of members of a body that has the right to call shots on somethings is not willing to accept the reality?

Leslee Udwin’s “India’s daughter” is an exceptional take on the current happenings in India with a strong universal emotional value. It pierces minds of it’s audiences by generating an insight into psyche of the rapists and the people defending them on the national stage. But no. We cannot allow our citizens to know what kind of a society they live in. We need them to believe that everything around them is safe and beautiful. We cannot let the people realise what they know already. We need to hide our identity and believe that we are a gorgeous society with problems being a thing of the past. Let us ban it.

What is it that brings out this Saint in some of us all of a sudden? It is the blanket we use to cover ourselves and tell ourselves that our surroundings are unpolluted, clean and every activity that happens around us is socially acceptable. The ones that are not socially acceptable are being taken care of “by the law”. This is the India we think we live in. We gain some kind of a satisfaction when we ban something that is nothing but a landscape view of only SOME of the intolerably grotesque incidents that have happened in this country. We get hurt. We get offended. But do we get hurt and offended by these portrayals of reality as much as we got offended when they actually happened? If that is the case, nothing more can even be said. If that is not the case, no ban on a reality portraying art form is justified.

No speech on development is acceptable when the Country is living in denial of some of it’s most disturbing problems. The Ban fever needs a very serious medication. It not only makes us feel ashamed about the fact that we are running away from reality, it also says a lot about our Government on a global stage. Are we trying to say that no body has heard about the disturbing rape incidents in India? Well, the entire World reads and watches everything reported about every rape incident taking place in India. Banning a documentary made on the same is not going to help but it’s going to show how we are hiding from our problems, to the whole World. Just like how banning “Curse Words”or AIB Roast, or something as small as trying to ban a song from a film for a line or a phrase or a word that offended a few people is not going to “make the society better”. It is only going to add to the list of examples of how India, as a country, is running away from it’s problems, failing to accept what goes on and is hiding from most of the disturbing aspects of reality and also the ones that are not disturbing but are just, plain real.

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What next ? The Big Question facing Indian Cinema’s next 100 !

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Raja Harishchandra (1913)

Indian Cinema completes 100 years on May 3rd 2013 from the release of its first ever full length feature film, Raja Harishchandra by Dadasaheb Phalke (1913)

A great article on the 100 years of Indian Cinema –

http://www.newsonair.nic.in/100-YEARS-OF-INDIAN-CINEMA.asp

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Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

This post isn’t about 100 years of Indian cinema. It is about what i think are the issues that are causing blockages on our road to keep creating good and better cinema.

100 years of Indian Cinema is a proud moment for every Indian undoubtedly but away from the pride and celebrations , Indian cinema, interestingly, finds itself in a transition phase in the point of view of many renowned film personalties and critics. To mark this, 2012 in itself was considered as a year of importance for Bollywood as it saw many releases that certified the presence of strong independent voices coming from some of India’s quality film makers. Sujoy Ghosh’s

Kahaani 2012

Kahaani 2012

Kahaani created a sensation and was declared a smash hit, not getting too much into the details of every independent film but this was the case with most of these films namely Anurag Kashyap‘s Gangs of Wasseypur, Anurag Basu‘s Barfi! , Gauri Shinde‘s English Vinglish , Shoojit Sircar‘s Vicky Donor and Dibakar Banerjee‘s Shanghai. Vicky Donor for example addressed sperm donation which many didn’t see coming by the look of things in Bollywood. Over seas, audiences are in plenty, looking for good Indian cinema but we have to change somethings about ourselves. Bollywood has a number of issues at present which are as good as hindrances in its quickly needed progress. It seems as though Bollywood has become addicted to ‘remakes’, ‘sequels’ , ‘item numbers’ and somethings as unexplainably senseless as ‘opening week collections, opening day collections and 100 CRORE CLUB’. Many of these films, that crossed the so called ‘100 crore’ mark have a very low ability to ‘thrive’ after they are out of the theatres. There are great films in the ‘100 crore’ category too, obviously, but a majority of them become a text book example of monotony. A major section of the ‘100 Crore Club’ entity thrives solely in dependence of the Star system in India. Anurag Kashyap once said, “Star system is there everywhere but in India it is not just star system, it is a star driver system. The same people get awards. In Hollywood also there is a star system. There is a star called Tom Cruise. But Tom Cruise hasn’t really got any awards.”

During a front row conversation with the Directors of Bombay Talkies (Anupama Chopra’s reputed show on Star World India)  Dibakar Banerjee recently pointed out that the technicians in the film industry are most ignored and paid less despite film being known as a technical medium.

Zoya Akhtar

Zoya Akhtar

Zoya Akhtar in the same panel interview said ” Today they are making sequels of movies that shouldn’t have been made in the first place” Karan Johar highlighted the ‘herd mentality’ in the film industry. It is believed that many young film makers, having low budget but great scripts in store for the audience arent getting the required amount of space in the Industry. Dibakar Banerjee also said “Too many films are chasing too few weekends” Coming away from these issues, putting them behind us is the only way the Indian cinema can move forward.

Signs of hope aren’t the new , different types of cinema that are being released. The signs of hope can be taken from the fact that certain audiences are slowly beginning to search for something different. It is a slow process but proof of its existence is beginning to gain visibility. Hence the success of recent films like Zindagi Na Milegi DobaraKahaani , Gangs of Wasseypur, Talaash, Barfi! ,

Vicky Donor 2012

Vicky Donor 2012

Vicky Donor, English Vinglish as well as anticipation for the next few movies of the Directors of these films. Selected film makers have began to ‘not bother’ about issues of box office results over recovery and have gradually started making films out of passion and solely to tell good stories.

Cinema for the intelligent audiences is emerging. The ‘want’ to watch Indian movies overseas has increased by a large margin. Indian films are being talked about and rumor has it that Film industries are also looking to remake some of them. Indian cinema, known to take large scale influence from foreign films, has begun to inspire film makers from foreign countries too.

What Next and what should be avoided ?

Rajkumar Hirani

The Next 100 years of Indian Cinema can be considered as a new beginning for all kinds of cinema. Cinema for everybody. Cinema that is fearless, real, bold and original. It may be wrongly interpreted that commercial cinema is bad or anything of the sort. Away from the genres of most of the commercial films and the topics they address, commercial cinema is actually something good. The money made by commercial films is also a positive factor for Indian Cinema. Glorifying and highlighting films that made 100 Crores and which film got the ‘biggest opening’ is a different matter all together. That has to do with the attitude of beginning to evaluate everything in terms of money as Rajkumar Hirani had once said about the ‘100 crore club’.

In the coming years, our audiences should be ready to face a new beginning. They should be ready for a surprise element in the film industry rather than expecting the same type of films , very often , the same genres, the same stars, doing the same thing. More film makers should begin to not consider only commercial aspects of film making and start becoming strong voices and tell good stories. The Certification Board should give our makers a chance to tell us the ‘many stories’ that they haven’t had the freedom to even start writing with the fear of the obviously expected objection from the Board for its release. Small issues like character names shouldn’t be associated with people from the country only to cause headlines. Film makers often fear using surnames for the same reason! The fever of attempting to ban films just because of the topics they address should be disposed in the dump yard because we have to face it, the people who voice concerns over films and start riots to cause their ban, have, in most cases, not watched the movie !! Censoring films that are already Adult Rated (Foreign Films mostly) never made sense. It should become inexistent. An increase in Plagiarism discouragement has to take place five fold and originality should be a sort of a public demand by the audience ! Hilariously enough, movies that are sent for the Oscars by India should be judged much better. Films that contain scenes lifted from this and that movie will probably be laughed off by the Oscar Jury. Repeating , the addiction to ‘remakes’, ‘sequels’ , ‘item numbers’ and ‘Opening week collections…100 crore club’ , should be over come. None of them even minutely certify good cinema. Song lyrics from many recent films have seemingly degraded drastically, almost detaching us completely from the beautifully soothing melodious lyrics of our own, old films making clearly no sense in many many cases. When we speak of lyrics, some films have been attacked because of their ‘controversial lyrics’. People stand up challenging directors to remove the song or to change the lyrics. Attracting News Channels and Public attention is again, speaking about the attitude of these certain people. Nothing can be done about that. But, in the past, the songs that have been attacked for their ‘controversial lyrics’, were usually for one or two words towards which audiences are often ignorant and simply unaware. If India tackles these issues, our films and our film makers have an even greater chance to stand tall in Global Cinema.

The largest film industry on the Planet 

We have a HUGE film industry with the greatest diversity and variety in terms of language, culture, understanding and sensibility amongst the makers as well as the audience members. In Indian Cinema, the audiences live the movies. India makes films in more than SIXTEEN different languages, which for instance in the year 2011, amounted to an aggregate of 1,255 movies in the whole year! For those who thought that Bollywood made far more films than any other Indian film industry, in the same year, Hindi film industry made 206 films and Telugu made 192 films. Tamil made 185. That answers many questions.

Its extremely exciting to think about whats coming next in the new era of Indian Cinema! Thrilling indeed. We are proud to be the largest film industry in the World.