Archive for September 17, 2012

GOING TO THE MOViES

Image Popcorn II

It would appear, the audience has regressed – Week after week movies do terrific business at the box office. Movies that are supposed to define what audiences want. While the actors/director/art director/DOP and everyone involved in the making of the film and their uncle, claims with a straight face in a blitzkrieg of television and written interviews prior to its release (read marketing strategy), that the film was, for lack of a better word, “dumbed down”. It is not meant for enlightened folks that are watching said interview or reading said review by critics – of which there seems to be a whole lot of them and all with perfectly discerning tastes – who decry these films over and over. Yet the film performs spectacularly at the box office. To what do we owe this enormous imbalance? Who are these films made for and what makes a filmmaker the singular authority on and purveyor of all things pedestrian?

The director or producer that supposedly has his finger on the pulse of “the common man” is as much fiction as the stories he/she churns out with amazingly consistent mediocrity. Everybody, even the “masses” to which we all bow to, know that a film today is as good as its marketing engine (read juggernaut) not cinematic quality.

When do movie lovers with taste for good cinema decide enough is enough and demand to see up on that screen, stories that catch and hold the collective attention? Decide for themselves, what entertains and what doesn’t, instead of being told. I have met so many people in Mumbai that say they never watch Hindi movies. Period! Most of my friends don’t. Now, isn’t that a shame?

Indians may have lost the confidence or the ability to define for themselves who they want to be perceived as and hence what they want. Where once there was an identity or even a clear alignment with such a one, albeit established by others – now there is a vacuum. Fear, uncertainty or waffling has taken away the clarity of who we are as a nation and our combined sensitivities as a people. We are uncertain of what is entertainment, in our current culture. We are caught between extremes of being proud of it without clear cause or shamed by it – clear cause or not. Sadly, there seems to be nothing in between.