Sunday, 8 July 2012

Indian cinema : Retro v/s Modern

The other day I was watching 'Dum Maaro Dum' , which was playing in the bus , on my way back to my hometown from Pune. The movie has Deepika Padukone with her sultry hot look , dancing on the classic remixed version that seemed, to me, quite cool and catchy. But to my contrary, an elderly couple, sitting next to me was not quite happy with the developements of the song and was constantly tattling, claiming the song to be too explicit and reassuring that Zeenat Aman can not be simulated and that today`s songs and movies lack content and inscription. Well, for me, Deepika sizzled as much as Zeenat Aman did. But we are forced to believe that old is gold.

Guys, gone are the days, when every 15 minutes , the hero-heroine used to jump and roll, over and around the mountains and trees, with every one , including the villagers, labourers and hawkers,  joining their dance, catching their steps as if the hero had choreographed it with a foresight in advance. Well, we can justify their rendezvous in gardens , given that there were no CCD`s, malls and PVR`s for this budding love to blossom (laugh). But what will justify the grumbling mothers , who are at the edge of mortgages, at the hands of the local zamindars, with the burden of medicines for their bed-ridden husbands and an iota of prestige for there already-raped daughters , by some of the folks of the zamindar clan. The only glowing hope for them is their son, who is expected to fall in love with the daughter of the same zamindar, calling for the then highly-applauded drama of a "rich girl marrying-poor lad". Uhhh ! Variety please !

As per my opinion, people just exaggerate when it comes to the reverence of yesteryear cinema. People refer it to be a piece of art with some social message dabbed in it. Quoting a domestic example , my father always has this statement ready with him "Hamare zamane ki filmo me meaning hota tha." He has also made several futile efforts of grabbing me to watch some of his favourite movies, which according to him, are the epics of Indian cinema. Though I don't have that patience to tolerate such a snail-pace screenplay, I had to succumb once, to his piece of art, to watch 'Sholay' cluelessly. The next time I managed to elope secretly from watching 'Deewar' , giving myself a triumphant way-out from hearing its highly melodramatic dialogues like the one in which the protagonist,boasting about his wealth, questions his not-so-rich sibling -''Mere paas bungla hai, gadi hai,bank balance hai. Tumhare paas kya hai ?'', to which his brother pathetically replies,'' Mere paas maa hain ! '' Gosh !

With due respect to the retro cinema, I feel the present day movies have got some real concrete meaning. Common, we don`t need a dose of extravagant plots, all of which, have something or the other to do with the rich-&-poor repurcussions or some theif-&-cop themes, as if these are the only issues in real life. People say they had ace film-makers like 'Gurudutt', 'Manoj Kumar', who have made many classics. So even we have some pioneer examples of contribution from personalities like 'Rakesh Omprakash Mehra'  for films like 'Aks' , 'Rang de basanti' or be it Anurag Kashyap, for his fims like 'Black Friday' , 'Water' , 'Udaan'. We have some serious actors like Amir Khan , Naseeruddin Shah who have some constant array of movies which are different and meaningful. To add to the variety, we have many directors dealing with youth-oriented subjects like Imtiaz Ali, Kabir Khan, Ayan Mukherjee who have earned remarkable applaud from the teen-cum-mature section of our audience.
Cinema in the previous era had a lot of over-the-top acting in it. Imagine yourself standing in a temple in a stormy night, ringing temple bells in a frantic manner, threatening God for all the fates of your life, with questions like ''Aaj khush toh bahot honge aap ??'' Common folks ! Time for some reality check. Who behaves like that ? Acting should symbolise reality. Films 'on reel' are what ppl are 'in real'  and unless we will connect to it, see ourselves in the characters of the movies, we will not be able to bond with those films.

Films today are globalised. We have films for every section of the audience. It is, undoubtedly, reaching out to a wider reception because the scripts have seen some newer changes. Thoughts and ideas have become far more rational. Acting has become more approachable and dialogues are written , keeping in mind the routine conversations of common people, cutting out those lengthy, stagy dialogues. To sum it all up, film methodology has adapted a practical approach which can be linked with a large group of audiences.
There is a lot of originality and diversity in the scripts. Like there are some really different movies for different sectors of audiences. For instance, recent hits like 'Kahani', a suspense movie with a cliff-hanging and unpredictable climax, 'Vicky Donor', striking the chord amongst the youngters, 'Paan Singh Tomar', a movie based on crime, entertaining the mature section of the audience. And for people, who watch movies just for fun and some hours of tension-free time, a no-brainer like 'Rowdy Rathore' has hit the charts. So, in all, there are ample varieties of movies which have got both critical and commercial acclaim.

We have this prejudice in our minds that whatever is old is gold. With due respect to all the concerned, that might be gold for you because you have grown up watching those movies and you have your memories attached to it. But one thing you need to acknowledge is that this is our generation and we love these movies and just as you expect respect for your set of cinema, so do we. To be frank, I love these movies of our generation because I get to watch something that can be resembled and enjoyed, unlike those caricatures.
This change in the way of styling and presenting of films has turned out in our favour because I simply can`t imagine myself in that era. I am sure I am no different than the youth of this country. Many of them out there feel the same. I have no intensions of cursing retro-cinema and its approach. But certainly when elderly people assume our-time cinema to be meaningless and absurd, and we have no option but to absorb those words, blogging is my only answer.


  1. I too feel this to a certain extent. but i suggest you to see some gurudutt movies n all. may be you will like it. but still ur blog was fun reading.. hahaha.. that stereotyping was very funny. good job

  2. For Me Change is the only thing constant and the change in the Film world is because of the constant changes around us..But I guess our elders can't digest the fact that change is evident..
    Very Nice Write..

    1. yes exactly..and all they do is force us to believe that their time cinema is the be all and end all of indian films

  3. Rucha .. loved this post very much and my feelings are intact that every time the movies of bollywood were speaking about that era .. what may not be taht worth a watch for today's young generation .. was a maddening scene then.
    Amid i read .. your opinion on Sholay and Deewar .. got a little shocked .. those films are well paced and well placed .. but then its an individualistic choice . The level Indian cinema has gone by far up a lot .. and there can be no denying .. humare zamaane wala dialogues wont work .
    today films are a class apart leaving some areas even now like the technical facilities ..
    the worst phase of Indian cinema was late 80s with horrible baseless unwanted fake-actioned awful movies were produced .. for about 4-5 years.

    1. Sorry for reading your comment so late :(
      Firstly, thanks for finding time for reading it :)
      I agree that Sholay, Deewar was well placed but then one cannot imagine watching them now! Its just unfair to compare the movies of our times with yesteryear movies and say that there is no meaning in todays movies. That is my only point!
      and ya, i agree that 80's was indeed high on melodrama !
      Thank you again for your feedback! I appreciate it :)