The critically falling standards of Indian cinema – Part 1

“Old Indian movies are like seasoned wine…the older they get the better they seem- Not because of their brilliance rather because of the shitty movies that are being made today”

“The amount of effort that is spent for each bit is tremendous – from artists, technicians, technical assistants and everyone involved; U know, even Karan Johar works his ass off to shoot a single scene in his movie…unfortunately the common viewer doesnot seem to appreciate it enough!”

“One problem with Indian Cinema is that we don’t have enough tragedy to take inspiration from”

Hello, im back…again 😀 and this time with something that has been buggin me for a long time now…As a foreword – This post is not a consequence of my state of mind after watching Panjaa and SriRamaRajyam ( 2 BLOCK BUSTER, SUPER HIT Telugu movies in 2011) back to back! Though I might express that frustration in the post :D. The topic is too huge and especially close to me to wrap up in one go, hence I’ve decided on adding a sequal 😉

I’ve presented three statements by people I find being worthy of being mentioned and I’m going to address them as we move along…

For starters – a brief history of time (not the Hawking’s one). Film has been a very popular medium of expression since a long time with the emphasis on very being pretty recent. It’s a global art form which is also a science due to the technical aspects involved that need continuous study n practice. As with all major fields in world history, there have been great movements that have shaped the bone and muscle of films. Be it the minimalist Neo realism (Italy) or the Expressionism (Germany) or Iranian New Wave (Persian Cinema) etc., each though short in lifespan, have shown how creatively the medium can be used to express ideas and emotions to the viewers. A dive into these styles of film making reveals that all these styles have something in common…they all came into existence through some adversity. Like the poverty post World War II in Italy forcing film makers to go minimal on resources pushing them to make films on the streets giving birth to Neo realism! They all arose from pain, from tragedy of some sort.

Here I make my first point…The third statement was made by my professor while talking about Indian Cinema in film study…Sounds very true! Countries that are often credited with great film history have all seen great adversities in their own past and to them culture is handed over by their land. A Fritz Lang could only have come from Germany…true, but this influence is not limited to the home terrain. Don’t trust me? Just try googling where Htich got his cock from…Okay that dint come out so well (No offence to Hitchcock…im a big fan 😐 ). But the point is- it is not tragedy that is missing in our cinema now but the ways to portray it. Our film makers of yester years have taken inspiration from these famous styles and have adopted them into their works of Indian tragedies (very loose sense of a tragedy here). Why do you think even after 100 years of cinema history and even after having the highest number of film  output per annum only a handful of Indian ‘Directors’ are actually revered as true ‘film makers’ and have managed to set a unique style for themselves? Among these only one individual did ever get the highest honour for a civilian in India – Bharat Ratna (Satyajit Ray). And it is any ones guess that no contemporary director comes anywhere close to this list. It might seem that some where some director might have read the script upside down and luckily managed to grab a commercial success out of crap (happens often these days) and every other donkey is diligently following his tracks by feeding us the same sort of crap with a few new spices (artists). By this time you must have realized that there is something really wrong with modern Indian Cinema, if not you either live in the matrix or you are a fan of Karan Johar!

The second quote was from a well known film maker in a film workshop that I was really fortunate to attend. He did really leave a mark on me…not with this statement though :D. To be true to the man he is right by all means! A lot of effort goes into making a movie…First there is the story guy (story/script), then the direction guy (director), then comes the guy with the money (producer/financers), then the guy who sets things where they should be (cinematographer), the location scouts (production managers), the camera guy, the actors, the makeup men, the choreographers, the light men, the assistants, the editor, the publicity guys etc. (phew!) They all put inhuman effort to make a movie…no kidding. But to ask a viewer to appreciate this is like asking Justin Beiber to sing like a guy! The audience is entitled to appreciate the end product of the effort and not the effort itself! And there are movies that are rightly appreciated for what they are!(not the over rated bolly stuff here). So sir, I have to disagree with you on this point to the defense of general audience.

And the first quote was something that struck me as I was drafting the post. Now assuming you have read the entire thing, it seems to be self explanatory :D.

Before I doze off il leave you with a fun fact – The only true contribution of Indian cinema to world cinema is…any guesses? Yes, Katrina gets it right – the item number! Now, where would we be without those 😀

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4 thoughts on “The critically falling standards of Indian cinema – Part 1

  1. My first suggestion to you is
    Please never ever use so many smileys in blogs. I am telling you this as you seem to take blogging seriously(your 5th post) .So to make your blog more readable and universal reduce the use of smileys.

    Reality check:
    Panja is one if the biggest disaster of the year. Dont forget that there are some gultes reading your blog who knows all the facts.

    And i would like to present my point of view.
    Its not only the film makers losing the grip and quality, the audience taste has also changed drastically.

    The old indian movies had audience who had the patience to wait for the characters to build on screen, who could enjoy emotions in songs, who didnot watch movies only for witty one-liners. They had more patience, more enthusiasm, more conentration levels.

    The present generation of audience depict a completely changed scenario. No one has the patience to wait for the movie to take off, give some time for characters to get established, listen to songs which are not catchy but emotional.

    No one can be directly blamed for the change in mindset. The change in the life style is the main reason.
    The people who watched the age old cinema had did not have the same technology so they worked hard to know anything. If they wanted to know about a term they had to walk to the library,search for the relevant book and learn about it. This entire living style gave them more patience. This generation opens google,search the first 10 links , mission accomplished.
    The point i wanted to make is that our present lifestyle has largely effected our thinking and mindset. So the way movies are made has also changed drastically.

    And i know you would say that hollywood is still making good movies.
    But frankly their standards have also fallen. Watch the blockbuster tagged movie “transformers 3”. It is the worst movie i have ever seen, which eventually became a blockbuster.

    And also the budget of the hollywood movies and their market is huge to make some superb adventure movies(TIN TIN), slick action movies(MI4) or some gripping drama based movies.

    The point i wanted to make from my long comment is that it is always easy to blame the filmmakers for everything. I agree that many bad movies are made.
    But the aduience have also changed.

    PS: Prasthanam is a commercial disater which is a superb movie. Dookudu is a sleazy,formula based film which became one of the buggest grosser.
    The film makers always try to make what the majority want to see and eventually land in profits than making a film which a minority appreciates ,likes but turns out to be a disaster.
    Afterall film is also a business!!

    1. Hi Rahul,

      Firstly I really appreciate you taking so much time and writing a pretty decent comment. And a few things here… About Panjaa, well my comments on Panjaa were more than satirical. Im unable to comprehend how you missed that one! But its okay, I guess il make it clearer…those movies failed to impress me. As simple as that!

      For the rest of your comment I wish you had waited for the second part of the post which I have just finished drafting! Seeing your comment, I believe you would have loved it! But as you have shown great interest in this topic I feel you deserve an appropriate response now…

      Your comments are I feel are pretty much standard. It is true what you say about modern people with their attention span of a rodent. True that the lifestyle has changed, true about google and babel fish and all but buddy I must say you have missed a point here…A rather important one!
      Your comments seem to be posed in a way suggesting that the modern viewer is impaired of accepting emotional or sensitive content. On the contrary, I believe what the viewers want now is a good movie that can appeal to all their senses not only the commercial ones. I believe that you and I (modern viewers) will enjoy a movie like ‘patala bhairavi’ or ‘Dana Veera Sura Karna’ just as much as our Dads (veteran viewers) would have. Hence, no problem with our patience or acceptance levels! So who has to face the music the film makers or the viewers? Do you see where Im getting to?

      And coming to Holly, I have a lot of views on that but this is not the stage for them, as for transformers 3…it was not the script or the story but I think the technicality is worth it! And blaming the film makers was not my point of concern as Im on the same side and I was only calling for some introspection on our side (film makers)!
      I hope you read the part 2 and find more answers there!

      And as for the suggestion regarding smileys,well this is not my 5th but 12th post…but thank you and il work on that! 😉

  2. Hey kalyan! firstly, I appreciate your efforts in talking about very common yet often overlooked issues through your blog.
    The points you raised are thought-provoking.
    Here, I’d add further to what you have pointed out.
    Firstly, the content- we have the money, we have the technology, but where are the ideas? Where do we see novel films? Producers blame it on audience, audience blame it on film industry. Cinema is meant to reflect contemporary lifestyles. As pointed out in previous comments, people have evolved (for better or worse), but cinema hasn’t. Song and dance sequences are shot in exotic locales, but the heart of most of the the films is still set in decades ago. Formula-based films, for instance. When was it that a film successfully captured the public sentiment about an issue? It is one of the few media that penetrate every strata of the society, but has been grossly misused.
    In addition, more than the joy of working in cinema, it is the glitz and glam that attract aspirants. How can you expect quality from (most) people working for recognition and money rather than pure dedication?
    Of course, part of the blame also lies with us, the audience. We want to laugh, cry, fight, and most importantly, watch filthy romance on-screen. But we do not want to appreciate an actor’s efforts, or beautifully narrated stories, or watch films that leave us thinking. Indians are heart-driven rather than head-driven.
    Further, in no instance can we compare Indian cinema with that of foreign ones. Because here in India, we have social, cultural and even political factors coming into mainstream commercial films. Social, because of the super stardom and all the craze attached to widely successful actors. Here in Tollywood, we have demigods whose whims dictate the fate of a film’s progress. Add to that the caste card.
    Cultural, because what is portrayed in films is widely emulated. Gandhigiri is a heartening example from Munnabhai series. I think the political influence needs no explanation. Stars today, rulers tomorrow.
    It is a good trend that corporate culture of film making is catching up in Bollywood. Atleast that would induce some discipline and muscle into serious film making.

  3. Hey, um, the problem is, that is if we are poring over the lack of good cinema in Telugu( which is an easy example), is just the lack of intelligentsia who have genuinely got to say anything. There’s hardly anybody out there who’s intelligently or creatively capable of doing anything, people who have an idea with a hard conviction nor people so mesmerized by beauty. Even the technique’s poor, mostly.
    The audience is never a problem. It’s the same anywhere- you drive and they get driven. If they don’t get it, no point making movies. We don’t have any poets here, only a few here and there in the west and the east and the middle. Nowhere here. No poet that has the wisdom beyond his generation, no poet that can feel the tiny tinglings of heart and life, no poet that has the will to say something out loud. Even how good he is comes next, that is if he exists. No Rockstar, not yet. Till then, the audience will keep picking their noses.

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