Cinema in India has been around for a long time. When I was in school, I would rarely watch indian films. I used to think that they were unreal garbage with unimaginable stuff happening on screen. But gradually my opinion of indian films as such has changed (helped no doubt by my sister who forces us to go and see the latest films). Why this change in opinion??
Well IMHO in the last few years (and correct me if I am wrong) there have been some extremely brilliant films made. It all started with Lagaan. Finally I felt that the indian moviemakers had the balls to make something different. Something with a real story. Not just the regular family crap and stuff like that. That was one film which was seriously oscar material. (actually they wud’ve won the oscar had they edited out that scene with the englishwoman going “My heart is full of a thousand words, I feel eternal bliss” in the song “O Rey Chori”. I guess the west just could not digest that)
The next film that I saw was Devdas. Now this did not have a totally different story like Lagaan. It was much more conventional. However the point about this film was that it was beautiful. I had never before seen such beauty in a film. By beauty here I mean the sets, the general appeal and the colour. Never has a hollywood film come even close to equalling devdas in beauty. Of course casting babes like Madhuri Dixit and Aishwariya Rai helped immensly.
After that there were some entertaining films like Main Hoon Na. That was just pure entertainment. A commercial film made with the sole purpose of making money.
There was also Raincoat. It had some excellent acting. I mean Ajay Devgan (atleast I think it was him :p) and Aishwarya Rai were really really great. The story was nice and to top it all it was the music. The music in that film was brilliant, bloody brilliant. It was to Indian Music what Pink Floyd is to rock.
The film that tipped the scales was Black. I read somewhere that it was a copy of “The Miracle Worker”. Not having seen that film I cant comment on it but frankly I dont give a damn. Black was one hell of a film. The story was amazing and the acting was bloody brilliant. Amitabh Bacchan, Rani Mukerjee and the kid who played the girl were superlative. The direction was amazing. Black seriously deserves an Oscar (or the indian equivalent of an oscar).
Last but not the least was Bunty Aur Babli. Again a purely entertainment film but the point here was that it was really well made. Ok, the songs were kind of a pain in the ass but other than that the plot, the acting etc were excellent. Actually it was much more entertaining than most hollywood films put together.
Recently I saw Paheli. That was a disappointment. Actually expected it to be much much better. All through the movie I was like “When the heck is it going to finish?”. I mean the acting was good, the sets were really nice but the story was a bore and they really really really dragged it. What should have been told in an hour and a half took nearly three.
All in all indian cinema seems to be on a roll. Sure the poor guys dont have as much money as the hollywood buggers but they can beat them hands down in acting. Also we have something which America does not. We have some really awesome culture. We can create stuff which the US cannot even dream of imagining. Also Indian Cinema has music. A lot of our music is present in our films, unlike the west where most of it is in single albums by artists. So all in all here’s to some great cinema …