Snehesh Alex Philip, PTI
New Delhi: From the effervescence of Satyajit Ray’s movies to the current century Indian movies have again started to exert its originality.
Films like Hyderabad Blues, Rockford, Pinjar, Black and Little Terrorist to the current controversy-mired Black Friday or even Khosla ka Ghosla and Being Cyrus, Indian cinema now seems to compete to don a new feather —The Oscars.
But, is Indian cinema truly becoming a world cinema? Does overseas profits raked in by Indian films a sign of our cinema going global? Or are the growing popularity of directors like Gurinder Chadha, Deepa Mehta, Mira Nair and Sekhar Kapur a witness to the global acceptance of Indian cinema? The answer is probably, No.
“World cinema is like a window to the world. The problem with us is that if a formula clicks, we keep on repeating it. If Bend It Like Beckham does well, then we make more movies based on the same concept,” says Anurag Kashyap, of the Satya, Yuva, Black Friday and now Water, fame.
He adds, “We have not explored much from the beaten tracks of typical Bollywood films. Every man on the streets is a story. We just tend to underestimate our potential.”
His views are supported by a cross section of directors, actors, critics and even film promoters.
“Local is global. That is what people want to watch. The first thing that people want to find out who is the star in the film rather than the script,” states Ashvin Kumar, filmmaker whose Little Terrorist apart from winning numerous global awards also won a nomination for the best short film category, Oscars.
He adds, “We don’t make films. We make posters.”
Pointing out what ails the Indian cinema today, Aruna Vasudev, film critic said on the sidelines of a recently held talk show on Indian cinema at Sri Aurobindo Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi, “The script has to be strong. Along with it, a film needs to have a right push through good promotion and marketing if it wants to do well at international award ceremony.”
Marketing gurus and even film promoters are also cynical about Indian cinema when it comes to Oscars. “I fail to understand why we are so concerned about West. We need to ask ourselves whether we should promote a film better in the international market or are we really making movies which can win an Oscar,” questions Santosh Desai, COO, Future Brands.
Many, on the other hand question the fact that Indian cinema is known as Bollywood which in the words of Bhuvan Lal, president of the entertainment division at Mcorp Global, sounds like, “A poor cousin of Hollywood.”
He adds, “Regional cinema comes out with some very good movies. There are lot films in regional languages which are very good and different from the mainstream cinema and yet the focus is on Bollywood films.”
Kashyap points out, “The Bollywood industry is made of an equilibrium which nobody wants to shake. The formula which is followed is, get a star and a huge banner and put in some songs and we will have a box office hit movie.”
But then, filmmakers do feel a need for international recognition.
“There is a need for global recognition. Our country exports everything from IT to automobile, then why not cinema? There is a huge market for our films abroad and I am not talking about NRI population which is the main reason for our Bollywood films making money abroad. It is just that we need to make the right kind of movie to make the right impact,” says Ashvin.
Stating that the current trend where one gets to see many ‘different’ cinema coming out, he adds, “We have just touched the tip of the iceberg. A lot more needs to be done.”