Comprehensive essay on Indian Cinemas (Free to Read)



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Cinema is an important and integral part of electronic mass media in India. It is very powerful as a means of mass communication, entertainment, education, information and formation of public opinion. Its visual and persuasive appeal is unmatched and it wields considerable power to influence its vast audience. Its potentialities and possibilities are vast, to touch the masses as an expression of art, culture, human thoughts and sensibilities. Under its stimulus mass public awakening can be generated, national integrity, unity, communal harmony and eradication of such evils as dowry and superstitions, etc., can be achieved. There cannot be a more powerful, touching and appealing medium than cinema.

Indian cinema has produced many outstanding and trail- blazing films, both in Hindi and regional languages. But their number is not heartening at all. The majority of our films conforms to an established formula, and is produced to make quick and large profits. A host of the films of the seventies, led by Shoal belongs to this category. They are full of sex, songs, and violence — super block-busters, produced keeping mainly the box office in view. Formula films, full of stock, stereotype situations, scenes bordering obscenity, melodrama, exciting music and dances are there in thousands. They do not offer any inspiring, regenerating healthy entertainment to the audience as they fail to reflect our profound social changes and values, rich cultural heritage full of variety, colour and fascination. They fail to mirror the ultimate synthesis emerging out of the conflict between tradition and modernism, beliefs and scientific temper. Against this grey and dull background, such films as Panther Paschal, Pays, Mother India, Magritte, Jagged Rah, Mira Naa Joker, Across, Radha Satyr, Lagan and a host of others, shine like jewels.

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The new wave art cinema also known as budget films, which are seen as a reaction to the run-of-the will and romantic stuff, gave us some very fine films. The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), established in April 1980, helps in producing low- budget, yet good quality films. The NFDC also encourages foreign co productions. Gandhi and Salaam Bombay are the two examples of very successful co productions. NFDC helps production of films based on good scripts to be produced and directed by well-known producers and directors. The Corporation’s conscientious attempt to expose Indian audiences to a variety of high quality foreign films is also laudable. It sends its delegates to international film festivals to promote Indian Cinema. It also plays host to many buyers of films from foreign countries. Indian films are exported to over 100 countries.

We have the Central Board of Film Certification, consisting of eminent personalities in the field. The Board examines films for certification before they are publicly screened and exhibited. But, unfortunately, there are hundreds of films which should not have been certified at all for public exhibition. These films invariably revolve round the ‘boy meets girl’ formula, with cheap songs, dances, stereotyped love triangle and a lot of sex and violence. They have neither the social relevance nor appeal to the aesthetic sensibilities of the audience. There is a lot of repetition in them. The same age-old story is often served with different titles. Far removed from real situations of life, they cater to the tastes of uneducated, ill-cultured and unrefined cine-goers. Outrage, crime, violence, sex, rape, excitement, crude cabaret dances, unrealistic situations and scenes are common features of these missal and formula films.

These have adversely affected the conduct, character and morals of the public in general, and those of children and young men and women of the country in particular. Many of our modern crimes have a direct relation to these films. These films have helped a great deal in the rise of the crime-graph.

The suspected nexus between the film world and the underworld dons, mafia groups, smugglers and drug-traffickers is very disturbing. The bane of the Indian film industry is that it is ultimately in the hands of some very rich and unscrupulous sections of society. They always have the box-office before their eyes and want to earn huge, quick and easy profits. They believe in hit box-office films and throw away all their social obligations to the wind. Their main emphasis is on entertainment, and that too cheap and vulgar entertainment. The production of films on purely commercial lines has created a vicious circle.

It is the duty of film-makers not only to cater to the tastes of the masses but also to create healthy and desirable cinema. No doubt the overwhelming majority of cine-goers and film- viewers lack refined, sharp sensibilities, aesthetic sense and good moral taste, but it is the fault of the industry that it should succumb so abjectly to such pressure, throwing overboard all norms of social behaviour, decency, human and cultural values and demands of accepted modesty.

What we need today is decent, clean, cultural, social, bold, innovative, well-balanced, artistic and technically beautiful films based on scripts of reputed and socially responsible writers. The expenses of film production can be reduced by reducing the length and duration of films. Methods and ways and means should be devised to effect economy in the production of films, so that one does not have to go to unscrupulous and unprincipled financial barons. It is sheer madness to run after mega-budget, block­buster film production. Modesty, balance, social relevance, human values, realism blended with idealism, rationality, and sobriety, etc., should be our guiding principles in the production of films.

As far as children’s films are concerned, we are a very poor nation. For the production of good healthy and successful films for children, we need devoted, patient, imaginative, contented yet reasonably ambitious, poetical and scientific temper. Against this grey and dull background, such films as Pather Panchali, Pyasa, Mother India, Magritte, Jagged Raho, Mera Naam Joker, Akrosh, Ardha Satya, Lagaan and a host of others, shine like jewels. The new wave art cinema also known as budget films, which are seen as a reaction to the run-of-the will and romantic stuff, gave us some very fine films. The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), established in April 1980, helps in producing low- budget, yet good quality films.

The NFDC also encourages foreign co productions. Gandhi and Salaam Bombay are the two examples of very successful co productions. NFDC helps production of films based on good scripts to be produced and directed by well-known producers and directors. The Corporation’s conscientious attempt to expose Indian audiences to a variety of high quality foreign films is also laudable. It sends its delegates to international film festivals to promote Indian Cinema. It also plays host to many buyers of films from foreign countries. Indian films are exported to over 100 countries.

We have the Central Board of Film Certification, consisting of eminent personalities in the field. The Board examines films for certification before they are publicly screened and exhibited. But, unfortunately, there are hundreds of films which should not have been certified at all for public exhibition. These films invariably revolve round the ‘boy meets girl’ formula, with cheap songs, dances, stereotyped love triangle and a lot of sex and violence. They have neither the social relevance nor appeal to the aesthetic sensibilities of the audience. There is a lot of repetition in them. The same age-old story is often served with different titles. Far removed from real situations of life, they cater to the tastes of uneducated, ill-cultured and unrefined cine-goers. Outrage, crime, violence, sex, rape, excitement, crude cabaret dances, unrealistic situations and scenes are common features of these masala and formula films.

These have adversely affected the conduct, character and morals of the public in general, and those of children and young men and women of the country in particular. Many of our modern crimes have a direct relation to these films. These films have helped a great deal in the rise of the crime-graph.

The suspected nexus between the film world and the underworld dons, mafia groups, smugglers and drug-traffickers is very disturbing. The bane of the Indian film industry is that it is ultimately in the hands of some very rich and unscrupulous sections of society. They always have the box-office before their eyes and want to earn huge, quick and easy profits. They believe in hit box-office films and throw away all their social obligations to the wind. Their main emphasis is on entertainment, and that too cheap and vulgar entertainment. The production of films on purely commercial lines has created a vicious circle.

It is the duty of film-makers not only to cater to the tastes of the masses but also to create healthy and desirable cinema. No doubt the overwhelming majority of cine-goers and film- viewers lack refined, sharp sensibilities, aesthetic sense and good moral taste, but it is the fault of the industry that it should succumb so abjectly to such pressure, throwing overboard all norms of social behaviour, decency, human and cultural values and demands of accepted modesty. What we need today is decent, clean, cultural, social, bold, innovative, well-balanced, artistic and technically beautiful films based on scripts of reputed and socially responsible writers. The expenses of film production can be reduced by reducing the length and duration of films. Methods and ways and means should be devised to effect economy in the production of films, so that one does not have to go to unscrupulous and unprincipled financial barons.

It is sheer madness to run after mega-budget, block­buster film production. Modesty, balance, social relevance, human values, realism blended with idealism, rationality, and sobriety, etc., should be our guiding principles in the production of films. As far as children’s films are concerned, we are a very poor nation. For the production of good healthy and successful films for children, we need devoted, patient, imaginative, contented yet reasonably ambitious, poetical people with a touch of child-like simplicity and innocence. It seems that in spite of such great popularity and boom, Indian cinema is standing at the crossroads without any sense of destination and direction, sans sanity, sans sublimity. Yet there are hopes and expectations because we have lot of exceptional talent, resources and skills required for the job, only the orientation is lacking.

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