100 Years of Indian Cinema
Bollywood, the great, grand and ever expanding Indian movie industry is soaring to great heights. Fact is that nowadays, Bollywood has 30% more movie releases than the West. In terms of box office returns, 100 crores isn’t really an astounding feat anymore. Movies like The Lunchbox and Ship Of Theseus are getting recognized and appreciated globally. Shah Rukh Khan, The Undisputed King of Overseas, continues to spread the fragrance of the Indian romance worldwide. With all these events adding to the glory of our Bollywood, I feel that it’s time for us to look into a few things and think.
We complain that Hollywood has actors like Johnny Depp and Daniel Day Lewis who experiment with their roles and present characters of substance, while we are still exposed to shirtless Salman Khan here. We complain that Shah Rukh Khan still hasn’t thought of innovative ways to hug his heroines. However, when they make an endeavour to do something different, then the fates of movies like Jai Ho and My Name Is Khan gives a horrid example. It is not them who have stereotyped themselves as Prem and Rahul, it is the demand of the audience who don’t accept their metamorphosis.
Many a times we compare the Bollywood and the Hollywood movies, especially the technology based movies. We want movies like The Avengers but then how coldly did we react to RA.1? We don’t want the typical ‘song and dance’ movies, we want good stories to be meted out to us but does anyone remember Phir Milenge, a movie starring Salman Khan, The King of Box Office? Gone with the wind is The Ship of Theseus, does anyone even know the plot or the actors in it? Shahid and Citylights, two gems displaying the acting skills of Rajkumar Rao failed to make its presence felt and went quite unnoticed by the Indian audience. The Lunchbox generated just a meagre 5 crores in the Indian box office while it created waves abroad.
Anurag Kashyap ,Vikramaditya Motwane ,Dibakar Banerjee are some modern day film makers who are facing the wrath of our hypocrisy. These talented people have had their National award moments but their work still fails to be acknowledged by the audience. How long will they try and struggle to be recognised for the stories they believe in? How long will they, if not backed by good response? Eventually, they too will succumb to the tried and tested formulae in the quest for recognition in the Box Office for their survival.
As audiences inside a movie theater, we Indians fail terribly as well. We don the thinking cap before entering the cinema hall but at the pure delight of seeing Salman Khan shirtless or Emraan Hashmi kiss, that cap flies away in thin air without a trace. No matter how uptight we are in office, hurls of cheap comments, whistles and thundering laughter is how we defile a movie with. Then as we hit the exit gate we don the thinking cap again and intellectually try to analyse the movie. Later, some of us don’t even tell anyone that we watched the movie and enjoyed it for the fear of being ridiculed as we always label commercial movies and some actors to be monotonous. As for those who acknowledge watching the movie, they shed their valuable knowledge regarding the acting skills which was missing; make us wonder as to why the actor doesn’t change his genre.
Habits speak more than words; we pay for the love of our habit but do nothing to stay by our words and opinions. We reminisce the old meaningful songs, feel that meaningful and soothing music have gone extinct and that we are being deprived of good music, but we don’t refrain ourselves from liking the item numbers on the internet, don’t we? Our one time movie watching, a single view or like in the internet for a song or trailer of a movie is a sign of support towards it.
In India, movies were remembered by their songs in the olden days, now the success of the songs determines the Box Office fate of the movie.
Indian cinema has definitely transformed in these 100 years. Majority of the audience go to the theatre only to be entertained, but there are cine lovers who watch a movie for an experience, not just for mere entertainment. So does the brain lacking, star studded, raunchy item song containing, 100 Crores crossing box office hit quench their passion for the art called ‘cinema’?