2 Jun 2004

Reel Blunders or Real Demands?

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:17am

Let's accept - mediocrity rules in Indian cinema. Barring a Mani Ratnam flick in a year or two, or a Shekar Kapur film once in a blue moon, or a Varma's good attempt in equally good time, is there anything that we can take pride in? Where is that breed of sensible filmmakers, who rely more on storytelling than special effects or masala effects? Karan Johar is hailed as the greatest thing to happen in recent times!!! (Hello to all those who agree! does anyone remember Satyajit Ray please?) Ask any filmmaker the reason for the same, most of them would not even dare to acknowledge it. On the contrary, they would dismiss it as a foolish question. The remaining few would blame it on the audience. "We give what audience asks us", would be the most-oft repeated quote.

Ask the audience and they would say "we enjoy what we get to see". True, it is an evasive atitude to blame audience. So, who is the culprit? It was not very long ago that one could watch brilliant stuff from filmmakers like Kundan Shah, Ramesh Sharma, Aditya Bhattacharya, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Govind Nihalani, etc. Yes, some of them make films even now, but the product is appalling for their standards. Only Mani Ratnam seems to hold the ground firmly, although Yuva pales very much in comparison with his pre-Roja films. Vinod Chopra seems to have forgotten how he made Khamosh or Parinda. Hrishikesh Mukherjee doesn't come with the magic or intensity of an Anand or Abhimaan.

It is not to say that there are no good movies any more, but the ratio is very low. Is is because of a downfall of the collective creative psyche of the filmmakers? Is it the undue preference for box-office success that is affecting? It's good in a way, for every such dip in creativity results in the birth of a great filmmaker like Satyajit Ray. That is the only consolation I find to stand this otherwise pathetic scene of Indian cinema.

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