Tuesday, January 22, 2008


When Guru Dutt in Kagez Ke Phool comes to meet the Producers who wants him to make movies their way- and refuses, the scene, the light, the camera, the emotion and the acting lifts and arrest a person to an enchanted level, not only the emotions can be felt in the throat, but also in the mind and soul, this is the power which the Indian Cinema possessed. And now we severe lack. Turn on any movie from last year, and sit throw them and not one image would be enchanting as it used to be, they will appear just an image, like any other, no purpose, no weight just their to act as filler. All camera movement will be the same, from one director to the next, it does not matter who is the director, after all in India anyone can direct a film, actually everyone is directing a film this days, and it’s another rich man’s option. Everyone is a filmmaker, but not one of them understands the power of creation.

Cinema today stands for Storytelling; a notion largely popularized by Hollywood and diction of our industry, however, a silver lining separates Hollywood and Bollywood. Even though both woods produce a large number of junk, but lot of movies coming out of America and sold by the Studio’s, sister bodies and Independently, are innovative and stylistic in their usage of mise-en-scene, which allows a degree of authenticity and brings freshness to the power of an image, not only that the expressive use of mise-en-scene, as a stylistic device, but to convey the story in a new way and bring out new meaning which makes the work fresh to look at, even though the matter is rehashed, and since the dawn of American Cinema they always have had innovators and entertainers; Howard Hawk, John Ford, Nicholas Ray, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, PTA are all innovators and entertainers, which our Industry severely lacks.

I have yet to see a montage opening sequence which could rival that of Do Annakeh Barah haath in our cinema, the moment the movie begins it arrest you and never leaves you till the final credit roll, a movie made in 1949 talking about prison-reforms, with precise use of montage and long takes is un heard in our cinema today. Even back them song and dance existed, watching the prisoners sing along with V Shantaramn “ Ah Malik Tera Bandeh Hum” transposes you to a different realm altogether, the lyrics are meaningful, the sequence important, and above all it exist because it’s supposed to, not out of purpose, and over the year’ this sense of purpose has been lost.

There is no personal stamp over any work of a director, in short no identity. A work of art has a style and every style is based on unity, and this unity is of the individual, and this individual is missing in our Cinema today. Even the so called pseudo auteur like Sanjay Leela Bhansali leaves no mark or no stamp, huge sets and big canvases does not create a world, even John Ford canvases were huge, but he knew the relationship of an individual to his surrounding and the role of canvases, which is somewhat not translated in the works of people like Sanjay Leela Bahansali.

Once upon a time, yes it feel like a fairy tale, our scripts were written by people like KA Abbas, Abar Alvi who with the likes of master filmamkers as Raj Kappoor, Guru Dutt took Indian Cinema to a new heights, today more than anything our scripts has gone down the drain, for every good film or good script which the entire Industry of audience will scream, we have thousand useless films and works being made. Indian Cinema is thriving today thanks to an audience who is hungry for films, however, our works have detriotried over the years, and regional cinema and few great filmmakers are marginalized to the film festival or art house circuits.

When I freeze a close-up of a Bollywood film today, and on the side freeze another close up taken by Guru Dutt, I realize how much the industry has gone down. Anyone who will witness this shot and reverse shot will see the difference between the power of two distinct images, one emotes without saying a word, the other does not even serve the purpose with words, image and sound both failing to lift the purpose of cinema itself, it just exist in vacuum, simply floating and moving, with no direction or purpose. Perhaps, I have a deep longing and nostalgia for a moment long gone, how unfortunate it is, that our Industry acts as if the past never existed, as if Guru Dutt, VShanatram, Bimal Roy, Raj Kappor, and people like Satyajit Ray, Mirnal Sen, and Ritwik Ghatak don’t exist at all.

Why is that we have not used the lesson taught by our forefathers? Everyone today screams out that he is an individual, but turn any work by a director or an actor today, he appears the same every film; overacting, bad directing and believing what he/she is doing is next to goodliness.The same could have never been said for Raj kappor, Nargis, Dilip Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Madhubala, Guru Dutt, Vijay Anana,d Dev Anand, Chetan Anand and numerous other great’s who touched our emotions and made us laugh and sing. Even comedy film has become a cheap stable of utterly, useless mindless junk, filmmakers tend to believe that we have forgotten, that film like Padosan, Golmaal and Jaine Bhi Do Yarron existed, every genre today which is thrown at us wrapped in a new packet, has been exploited and perfected by out master filmmaker of yesteryears.

If entertainment is the key today then why don’t we have people like Mamohan Desai not only his movies showed us how to entertain but allowed the entertainment to be packaged well, he packed a punch, and his guts packed a punch, his movies as entertainment packed a punch, this punch this drive too is missing from our all out entertainers. Even Subash Ghai’s pot boiler had the elements of a great entertainer, it was masterfully constructed even though their lay deep holes in narrative, which showed it’s weakness, but he weaved a magic out of it, character depth, magical score and above all a work which fits the bill of what an entertainer should be, sadly over the years Mr Subhash Ghai leads the gang of people who lost the plot of making movies, even if it was meant to entertain us. And during the early 70’s and 80’s the Parallel Cinema thrived which gave the Indian audience an option- “A choice”. This choice too has been dead and gone, and Bollywood today dominates our mind and conscious like a dictator would do, feeding us and making us believe that what we watching, listening, witnessing is the greatest gift given to us, nothing like that exist anywhere in the universe, and the only thing and place which reminds me of such suffocation is, North Korea.

1 comment:

Souvik Chatterji said...

Guru Dutt is one of the most thoughtful actors who had glorified bollywood cinema during the 50s and 60s. Although he had impressed the viewers with films like Aar Par and Mr. & Mrs.55,