Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Films versus Films

Films are an integral part of our life and we eat, drink and live movies. Most of us, we Indians are passionate about the movies made in India and do turn critic at a given opportunity. Living up to this tradition, I would like to don the cap of a critic and talk about the films. The difference is I would like to take on regional films, especially Marathi films versus the Hindi films which are viewed across India and abroad where ever Indian diaspora resides.

Films in India be it the Hindi films or any of the regional films have gone through a sea of change, be it music, subjects, budgets, or for that matter technology which play a very important role in the look of the film. Every filmmaker is latching onto technology like no before to make it look sleek and appealing to the varied audience, but in doing so he is forgetting the very essence of the film, its story, its narration. This obviously takes a toll on the film quality and it rarely appeals to the audience for whom it is made.

Hindi films, I think suffer from the same ailment. Hindi films have a huge viewership in tune of a billion people worldwide and are made on a huge canvas. The makers have huge budgets at their disposal. With this kind of money they can boast of hiring the best in business, be it artists, technicians, etc., can be filmed at the most exotic locations across the world; in short they are grand and can appeal to one and all. But in all this grandeur, they forget to give recognition or attention to the heart of the film, “THE STORY”. Most of the Hindi films nowadays, I think lack this aspect of film making, rendering them bereft of the “WOW” effect with the audiences, who exit the theaters with a question mark on their face as to “Why did I see this film?” Now why are the audience’s blamed for this reaction when the makers dish out crap to them every Friday? In the name of a story, patches of scenes from here and there are stitched together. Music which has been the soul of Hindi films since ages, has gone to the dogs; with gibberish lyrics and the cacophony of the musical instruments add to their loathe element. I wonder why the composers are referred to as “Music Directors” when they dole out noise pollution in the name of the melody. To add to the spice and titillation, item songs are now an integral part of Hindi films. In the name of technology, emotionless protagonists are paraded in the film. Now with this mix you can’t even expect an average product leave aside a class act. Most of the filmmakers are hell bent on making over the top films, taking the audiences for a ride assuming they are no brainers. They tend to forget “a good film is a good film” and otherwise, for the audiences, no matter in which era it is made, but all is not lost with Hindi films, with new filmmakers trying to make films on newer subjects and not rely on run a mill or rich girl meets a poor boy story. This is I suppose the silver lining. The reasons they are liked are many, the story is the essence of the film and the narration is apt. No scenes or songs are simply packed in the entire scheme of things to hot it up or spice it. They simply adhere to the story and are lucid in flow. Though these films might not have a huge budget or the popular star cast, the story is the protagonist well handled by the director; which appeals to the audiences. To name some of the recent films, which struck instant chord with the audiences were films which had a good story, apt narration, soulful music and of course good direction. To name a few – "Vicky donor", "English Vinglish", "Kahani", "Special 26", "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani", "Lunchbox", the biopic of veteran Indian athlete "Bhag Milkha Bhag", etc. Commercial aspect is not the only parameter here but artistic excellence and the stories that have been chosen. With these observations of mine many Hindi cine lovers would beg to differ and I am OK with it. This is my personal opinion and I sincerely feel today’s Hindi films are definitely high on the glamour quotient like no before, they are high on technical space or the grandeur is eye popping but the shelf life has reduced drastically.

Now lets move onto some other films from one of the regions of India, “THE MARATHI” films made in the state of “MAHARASHTRA”. As compared to high budgeted Hindi movies, Marathi movies are made on a shoestring budget and have a very small user base. So you would say what is the basis of even comparing these 2 film industries. There is no match. The comparison here is not the budgets or reach, but the quality of the films made. To me constraints like low budgets is a blessing in disguise for the Marathi film makers, for they try to portray the best in whatever is available to them. In doing so instead of going for grandeur and extravagance they concentrate on the story of the film, which to me is the soul of any film. The subjects that have been handled in recent times is no match and the testimony to this is the awards they have received nationally and internationally. Well trained theater actors with talented directors have taken the films to a next level. This is all possible because of the well scripted story and narration, is what I think or the subjects that are being handled. The other positive of these films is its music and it has still maintained the rustic charm or the flavor of the soil as they say. The music is soul searching if not haunting and is melodious in most of the films. Many non-Marathi singers have made a beeline to sing for these films and they have been rewarded plentifully. Some of the notable names which have sung for Marathi films are versatile Hariharan who won a national award for his song “Jeev Dangala” from the award winning film "Jogwa". "Shreya Ghoshal, Sonu Nigam, Kunal ganjawala" is some other Hindi film singers who are regular on Marathi music scene. All in all, good story, different subjects, strong performances and apt music have all contributed to the success of the Marathi movies, not just commercially, but from the point of view of, artistic excellence. No wonder many big names from the Hindi film industry are producing Marathi movies like no before. If you have a dekho at the list of movies you would know what I mean. Films like "Shala (School)", "Kaksparsh", "Mi Shivaji raje Bhonsle Boltoy", "Valu", "Vihir", "Jogwa", "Natrang", and "Deool" all have garnered critical acclaim and love of the masses and classes. I hope Marathi film makers do keep this trend going for a long, long time and don’t get carried away with just grandeur and extravagance which are coming their way, and make meaningful cinema which is loved by one and all.

You would also be interested in reading other Hindi film stories

Hindi Film Scenes from a Different Perspective

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