11 May, 2021

Time To Make In Indie, Babua!

Independent filmmakers from Bihar and eastern UP are breaking away from ­cinematic conventions of the region’s film industry and exploring diverse stories

Kohbar (awaiting release as a feature film)
Time To Make In Indie, Babua!

When Pawan Singh compared a woman’s torso to a lollipop, and the woman to a potato chop and ice cream, little would he have expected that the song would become a cross-regional earworm, dominating phone ringtones and inspiring rock, acoustic and violin covers. The track resonated on the internet and has almost become synonymous with Bhojpuri outside Bihar. Pawan’s Lollipop Lagelu is not an anomaly. In a film and music industry where the exposition of booty and fetishised bulge is prioritised over plot, the catchy song is just one of the hundreds of its ilk.

Despite the uptick in Bhojpuri cinema since the mid-noughties, there’s little to differentiate the films—they brim with sleaze and women merely serve as props to be harassed or seduced. While not quite the hallmark of the industry, obscenity is rife and gets maximum attention.

It is an association that many Biharis bemoan and seek to undo. One of them is 27-year-old Rahul K. Singh, a Mumbai-based filmmaker who hails from Patna. He is part of a nascent indie scene where auteurs...

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