Five things we learnt from Bollywood in 2015
Another eventful year has gone by, so here’s what we need to ring out in the New Year.
It’s that time of the year when one realistically looks back at the 12-month period that has passed to scan for mistakes to avoid and set new milestones. For Bollywood’s bright and better future here’s what we recommend filmmakers and filmwallahs to steer clear from…
Not every film that wins awards at Cannes or a similar international film fest is depressing or niche
Every time a film has garnered accolades at international film festivals, it has been often showered with brickbats back home. Reason? Mass audience often perceives it as serious, realistic and intellectual cinema and dismisses it. Yes, some films do portray a grim, gloomy and convoluted picture in the name of art, to an extent. But this year Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan (which won many awards at fests around the globe) was a realistic yet refreshingly told story about rural India, which showed that well-crafted cinema can be entertaining, emotional and sort of enlightening. Likewise, the Punjabi award-winning film, Gurvinder Singh’s Chauthi Koot was a poignant narrative revolving around the 1980s Sikh separatist movement and had almost everyone talking. 2013’s The Lunchbox (directed by Ritesh Batra) proved that art can be entertaining and universal in appeal too. These films give a new meaning to meaningful cinema.
Models can act!
Common perception has been that Pretty Young Things, who sashay on the ramp, flaunt products on-screen and wear beauty pageant crowns aren’t actresses. They are pretty faces. It was true till a while. Let’s stay away from naming beauties. But watching Anushka Sharma’s hard-hitting performance in NH10, Deepika Padukone’s versatile portrayals in Piku and Bajirao Mastani and Priyanka Chopra’s emotionally powerful roles in diverse films like Dil Dhadakne Do and Bajrao Mastani proved that models can act. Maybe these PYTs took the constant criticism to their ilk in stride and acting lessons to prove their detractors wrong. But let’s not say it too soon, there are many who still are better off smiling than emoting. But the myth – models can’t act – is broken.
Reel romance is getting boring
Prem kahanis have been Bollywood’s favorite staple since the time movies are being made in India. The guy-meets-girl and love blooms plot has been turned, twisted and done to death. From triangles to family opposition to teenage love to middle-age love to friendship-turned-lust-turned love to unrequited love to love after marriage, every angle has been exploited for the audience. This year’s rom-coms starred new jodis to evoke interest in the lifeless plot. Yet love stories like Katti Batti, Wedding Pullav, Hero, Hamari Adhuri Kahani, Tevar, Shaandaar etc., despite all the taamjhaam, failed to sizzle at the box-office. Maybe it is time to move on to a new plot? And the off-screen romances quipped with spicy rumors are far more engaging and entertaining.
Social media can’t save a bad film
2015 saw an innovative engagement of social media to promote and market movies by filmmakers. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’s dubsmash had people (celebs and common folk) from all parts of the world grooving on the title track and showing their love for the film/stars. Dilwale’s lead pair, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, rekindled their romance in every video, parody (Bhaag Jeetu Bhaag) and promotional gig for every medium (small screen, digital and big screen) to woo audience. So much material was out there that you had to believe you liked, if not loved, SRK-Kads and go watch Rohit Shetty’s representation of their romance. When it came to the real deal (the film), both big-starrers didn’t get any big Prem from audience or colored the box-office gerua (read red). So much for all the hullabaloo.
When Indie filmmakers got big budgets, their stories went south and audiences disappeared from theaters
These talented filmmakers made their mark without big money, big stars or big banners, all they had were original stories. I am speaking of Dibaker Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap and Vikas Bahl. Three talented directors who made some memorable movies like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Black Friday, Dev D, Gangs of Wasseypur, Chillar Party and Queen. But when they tried to add shine (read production values) and stars (actors) on their sets (Detective Byomkesh Bakshi, Bombay Velvet and Shaandaar), something went awry. Was it the big money? Was it big stars? Maybe the trio and their likes are meant to make ground-breaking movies and not record-breaking blockbusters!
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