Monday, 6 February 2012

Worth the risk

Bollywood could reach greater heights if only it stepped out of its safe cocoon more often

Bollywood never ceases to surprise us. While at some point we feel that it has moved ahead with leaps and bounds, at certain other points it feels like it is rapidly regressing. We have some wish list for Bollywood to help it squirm out of the shackles of ghisa pita formulae and take some risky steps forward...

Leonardo DiCaprio in The 11th Hour
Nurture Indie attempts: Throughout the calendar year, we barely notice any independent work hitting the theatre. This situation can change if big movie banners throw their weight behind these small-budget filmmakers without interfering much in the creative process.
Go Rural: Since the majority of India resides in villages, Hindi cinema can always tap this part of the country for stories. A fully rural-based work like Lagaan, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Swades, Welcome to Sajjanpur, I am Kalam happens far and between. With Peepli Live, Aamir Khan proved that marketing skills makes all the difference at the Box Office.

A still from Peepli [Live]
Desi animation someone?: A majority of the animation we consider worth watching are imported from Hollywood studios. The reason behind this trend is pretty na ve: Our industry can't match their standards nor wish to catch up with them. Intriguingly, Japan's anime industry doesn't ape the West in this regard as they created a niche for themselves with indigenous work like Ponyo, Spirited Away and Akira.
Where are the docus?: We have issues. Lots of them in fact. The reality is that there are documentary-makers out there whose work never hit the theatre due to absence of financial backing. This is precisely where Bollywood stars can step in. They can take a leaf from Leonardo DiCaprio who produced and narrated The 11th Hour. George Clooney did the same with Sand and Sorrow. Matt Damon asked all the grinding questions in the much-acclaimed The Inside Job.

A still from The Artist
Back to black and white: We aren't tired of colours but what's the harm in churning out reels in monochrome or sepia for a change? The world cinema, if not just Hollywood, have done exceptionally well by reliving the good old charm. To boost this argument, flicks like The White Ribbon, Sin City, Good Night, and Good Luck and most recently, The Artist, were appreciated.
Say aye to gay: In the last few years, there have been commendable attempts by some filmmakers to bring homosexual characters to the forefront of screenplay. This trend is worth encouraging. So superstars, drop your inhibitions and say yes to a gay role.
Reclaim the era of silence: Silent cinema was considered to be pass ©. Until The Artist took place. With the kind of reviews it is earning and the number of awards it's picking up, one can safely say that perhaps we need to think twice before calling this genre pass ©. If our memory serves us well, Pushpak (starring Kamal Hassan) set the tone right for modern silent movies in India but unfortunately nobody followed the trail. Maybe it's time.
Work in progress: Western cinema adheres to a concept not yet adopted by ours ” suggestions from peers during the production phase. The producers there conduct trial shows of the movies they're working on to get a better perspective from experts. Why not take off the blinkers and ask an outsider's honest point of view before the release?

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