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Movies A New Direction for Indian Cinema?

Discussion in 'Theatre, Movies & Cinema' started by spnadmin, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    A New Direction for Indian Cinema ?

    by Tom Brook

    http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20130523-indian-cinema-getting-real

    As Cannes celebrates a centenary of Indian cinema, many Indian filmmakers believe a move away from the traditional Bollywood style is needed, as Tom Brook discovers.

    A fusion of classical Indian music and composer Talvin Singh’s drum and bass filled a big party organised by film officials from Mumbai at the Cannes Film Festival a few days ago. The celebrations were especially buoyant because this month marked 100 years of Indian cinema.

    Unsurprisingly there’s been a lot of marvelling over the wonders of Indian film. The man many regard as India’s top star, the venerated actor Amitabh Bachchan, believes Indian cinema has made great strides forward.“We’ve progressed tremendously in these last hundred years,” he says. “To be accepted not just within India but overseas as well is a fantastic feeling.”

    Indian cinema has genuine reasons to be proud: with an output of more than 1000 features per year it’s the world’s most prolific film industry. It has its own megastars and landmark directors. It's created memorable song and dance extravaganzas and brought forth a wave of new innovative directors. But now, as all the partying over 100 years of cinema begins to wind down, there are sober challenges to be faced if Indian cinema is truly to flourish in the future. Many in the industry think what really needs to happen is for Bollywood to get real and lessen its emphasis on fantasy.

    Keeping it real

    Akshat Verma, who’s based in Los Angeles and Mumbai, took the step of bringing authenticity to his country’s cinema when he wrote the screenplay for a more ‘real’ Indian film called Delhi Belly, which became a major hit two years ago. It’s an irreverent crime caper – replete with lavatory humour – and Verma wrote it because he wanted to see more relatable characters on screen. In some ways his screenplay was a reaction against the artificiality of Bollywood.

    Verma says: “My biggest problem growing up watching a lot of Indian films was I saw characters in situations I did not relate to.” So with Delhi Belly he put together a story which really resonated for him personally. “My desire was to try and write characters which were some of the people I’d known, friends I’d had who spoke a certain way, who had a rudeness or irreverence to the way they approached the world, a certain dark humour. I believe we tend to be polite in a lot of ways in the stories we tell,” he says.

    Proponents of change don’t just want more relatable real characters in Indian movies. They also want cinema to take on contentious topical issues - and they would like to see intimacy presented more freely on screen. The new movie Bombay Talkies, an anthology of four short films designed to mark 100 years of Indian cinema, features a gay kiss – something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. But even with change afoot, Bollywood remains quite conservative – it wasn’t so long ago that kissing between a man and woman was banned from the screen.

    Respected film and theatre director Feroz Abbas Khan says: “The mainstream cinema does a very fine job of sharing its fantasies, but there’s a cinema that needs to share its concerns of what’s happening in the society. There seems to be some very important issues that the country actually is grappling with, and those issues are not being discussed, or that conversation is not taking place in the film.”

    It’s true that many pressing issues in India – from religious intolerance to sexual violence against women – are routinely overlooked by mainstream Hindi cinema.
     

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  3. findingmyway

    findingmyway
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    There are some very thought-provoking mainstream movies about such topics, e.g. Oh My God! and Matrubhoomi but the problem is that nothing changes!

    I'm not sure an increase in kissing and intimate scenes is such a good idea. What does that really achieve? Is there no other way to tackle an issue? Some of the old movies are clean and have incredible story lines, including about topical issues. Are new films really moving forwards or just sideways?
     
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  4. spnadmin

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    It would be good for members to post some of these new wave Indian films. Then I could use google and YouTube to find "trailers." That would in a bit create an informational archive for readers who might want to use some of these films for educational purposes in schools, universities or gurdwaras and service groups.

    Thanks findingmyway ji for getting us started.

    You question: "Are films really moving forwards or just sideways." Change take time, sometimes generations. We have to depend on the multiplier effect. If one person is reached here at SPN, and that person convinces 10 others who each convince a few people, who do the same thing, the effect is sustainable. Eventually change comes.
     
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    #3 spnadmin, Jun 22, 2013
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  5. spnadmin

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  6. spnadmin

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  7. spnadmin

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    To give an example - simply astonishing seeing it through my 3 generation old eyes. During the first 3 seasons of the political thriller "24" the president of the United States was an African American - that is, from 2001 through 2003 when Barack Obama was virtually unknown. By 2003 he had divorced his wife and was involved with his personal physician, a white woman. I don't know how a person in his or her 20's thinks about those images. In the 1960's and '70's, inter-racial relationships just did not happen in the media, unless a movie was about a social outcast or rebel (and rebels always got their "just deserts"). An example, the movie The Great White Hope from 1970. So change does happen. "24" was not even an eyebrow raiser because society had changed, and it is still changing.
     
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    #6 spnadmin, Jun 22, 2013
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  8. findingmyway

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    Alert: Matrubhoomi is quite a hard hitting movie so be prepared when watching! It has an important message about female infanticide and the treatment of women.

    Here are 3 more than left an imprint on me based on historical events. None are easy to watch but very informative:

    1947 Earth about partition
    1947 Earth - trailer - YouTube

    Bombay, a 1995 movie about Hindu-Muslim riots over Babri Masjid/Mandir
    Bombay HD Full Movie Part-9/14-{www.downloadshiva.com}.mkv - YouTube
    Also available in Hindi, I just used this Kannada scene to show the essence of the movie. It is based round a mixed couple.

    Maachis, about police brutality in Panjab. This is a Panjabi movie that broke my heart and is a must watch for all
    Chod Aaye Hum Woh - Hindi Song - Maachis - YouTube

    Full movie versions of all of them available.
     
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  9. findingmyway

    findingmyway
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    Water is an art house movie looking at the lives of widows and a lot of behind the scenes shocking practices by 'pandits'
    Water *Official Trailer* - With English Subs (HD) - YouTube

    Baabul also tackles widow remarriage but in more true Bollywood style
    Baabul promo - YouTube

    Monsoon Wedding is a British movie tackling arranged marriage, child abuse, gender stereotyping, relationships before marriage, Izzat and the role of extended family. Phew!
    MONSOON WEDDING Trailer (2001) - The Criterion Collection - YouTube
     
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  10. spnadmin

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    Monsoon Wedding had to be a ground-breaking film. The conspiracy of silence for sexual abuse of children, loss of virginity even by rape, those were and still are topics that are covered up, in spite of the growing pressure to take the problems head on.
     
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  11. findingmyway

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    It was a key movie in getting the topic open but was not brave enough to tackle the subject head on. British Asian cinema has a tradition is being more brazen than Bollywood. Here are a couple more

    Provoked about domestic abuse (English language)
    Provoked Trailer - YouTube

    www.youtube/watch?v=zP58U6Knnaw

    I Proud To Be Indian (Indian not British movie) about racial discrimination in the UK in the 60's onwards
    I Proud To Be An Indian Theatrical Promo - YouTube
     
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    #10 findingmyway, Jun 22, 2013
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  12. spnadmin

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    This topic is starting to hypnotize me. Sometimes the summaries on movie databases are very informative about society's reactions to controversial films. Here is part of the synopsis on Amazon for "Water." We know it is about the cruel treatment of widows... but look

    Extremist groups waged a campaign of death threats, arson and riots to stop the production of this controversial film, but director Deepa Mehta would not be silenced. Set against Gandhi's rise to power, Water tells the profoundly moving story of Chuyia, an Indian girl married and widowed at eight years old, who is sent away to a home where Hindu widows must live in penitence. Chuyia's feisty presence deeply affects the other residents, forcing each to confront their faith and society's prejudices.

    I will be watching it shortly on Amazon. Thanks.

    Oh God! The child's head is shaved 5 minutes into the film. By 6 minutes she has been shifted off to a house of penitence. But she is a handful! Probably a Sikh in "another life."

    At SPN we have at least 3 threads on this subject, and some discussion also of sati. The punishment and abandonment of widows persists.
     
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    #11 spnadmin, Jun 22, 2013
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