Every year the announcement for list of National award for films, puts me to shame, because it makes clear that how little I know of Indian cinema beyond Bollywood and some regional language films. The regional cinema occupies such a big space, from music to direction to best films of the year. But, then I look at my contemporaries, we all fall in same line. It brings some relief, because sharing the guilt together is better than bearing it alone. However, for a movie buff like me, it’s disheartening.
It’s not entirely my fault. I never go and search for new Bollywood releases. I get to know it through different mediums. But, good films that are made at regional level are somehow hidden. Lack of promotion, less budget, many reasons could be cited. But, we the movie lovers are at loss, we are the ones who are deprived.
Today, the world equates Indian cinema with ‘Bollywood’. Not many of us were even aware that a language called Byari existed when the best feature film award for 2011 was given to Byari (along with the Marathi film Deool), a film based on the dialect spoken by the people in it. These films are poles apart from what had been made before, as they depicted life in a realistic manner. Not many of us are aware of the enormous talent that lies in the regional film industries.
100 years ago, Dadasaheb Phalke made a silent movie about a king who never lied. The silence of the king created a sound that is echoing even after the century. It is unlikely that Dadasaheb had realized that he is unleashing a medium that would hold millions in sway for the next hundred year.
Over the years Indian cinema has become one of the largest film industries in the world, producing over 1000 films a year. Indian Cinema, its idea and the reality are alike India, a vast palette of, languages, sensibilities, heroes and heroines. In the course of its century long history, it has steadily turned the myths, folk tales and legends of India into the modernity of motion pictures. From candyfloss romances, lavish song-dance sequences, coarse underworld flicks, kick butt action to social melodramas the Indian movies have touched almost every genre of entertainment. And from mind boggling blockbusters to multiplex movies that are tailor-made for English speaking Indians, to those emblematic ‘NRI’ films Indian cinema has gone too deep into our psyche.
In Indian cinema, transformation is at its heart. There are movies, the ones that stand out, those that bag awards, those that are critically acclaimed. And then, we have popcorn cinema and we will always have popcorn cinema but why can’t it flourish along with regional cinema. Perhaps we’d be better equipped to define Indian cinema if we get to see good films in regional language with subtitled versions in multiplexes, or on Doordarshan.
After a century later, definitely, this is the least we can ask for, if Indian cinema needs to leapfrog into the next century with bigger and better strides, ahead of its western and Oriental counterparts.
Cinema in India can never cease. We have moved from the black and white films to 3D, but our cinema continues to retain its basic essence – to thrill.
Today, Indian cinema attracts over one billion spectators worldwide (including the largest IMAX theatre in the world in Hyderabad). Let’s celebrate and cheers to many more centuries of Indian entertainment and let’s hope we get to see many more good films rather than only Bollywood films.
Image Source: 1&2 : Released To Public Domain / Copyright expired – Wikipedia