Friday, November 20, 2009

What exactly is Indian Cinema?

Recently, I happened to attend a Japanese movie screening by the Asian Film Studies (Dept of Foreign Languages and Literature) called Dare mo shiranai (Nobody Knows). The movie was fantastic, with a very sensitive portrayal of children and how they fend for themselves when their single parent flees with her boyfriend. This movie will make Taare Zameen Par look like an amateur effort both in the acting categories and predictable story lines. This post is not about that movie but what happened after the screening.

The Professor in charge of the series was interested in screening an Indian movie every month. The themes are Romance, Musical and Comedy for February, March and April respectively. The problem is that all Indian movies think that they are musicals and romances rolled into one! Also, the subtitling and captioning is so terrible that they seem to be an afterthought rather than having been thought out carefully by the scriptwriter. Also, the nuances in dialogues and expressions, customs and traditions are invariable lost in translation.

Also, do the Shah Rukh - Aamir Khan films such as Rab Ne, Om Shanti Om, KKHH, and Dil Chahta Hai portray the real India? Or is it then starkly realistic films such as Ray's trilogy? Or Deepa Mehta's movies which we Indians consider a blemish on our culture?

I am not saying that there exist no such movies but I will leave you to think about movies adhering to these themes that you would like shown to an international audience without making fools of ourselves. I dread to think what can be shown for a war movie? Border? Gadar? Lakshya? Huh... Is that all we can manage after continuous fighting for 60 years?

(P.S: After a lot of brainstorming, my roommate and I chose Dor, Parineeta and Munnabhai MBBS for the 3 slots. Dor for its richness in portrayal of India and the nice storyline, Parineeta for the portrayal of Indian customs and color associated in the film, and Munnabhai for its comedy, though I have a feeling that the subtitles will not send anyone to fits of laughter. What movies would you have chosen?)

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