19 June, 2021

Margins Of The Mind

Bollywood bamboozles all, but regional directors still make cinema for cinema's sake, not for the cash till

Margins Of The Mind
The script couldn't have been worse. Troughs overshadowed the highs. Fadeouts interrupted flashes of brilliance. Dampeners doused flickers of hope. Yet the last 10 years saw the independent strand of India's regional cinema negotiate the ups and downs of life with composure even as commercial rewards and critical accolades eluded it.

Bollywood bamboozled all. Buffeted by costly flops and impelled by the multiplex culture, Mumbai cinema's pan-Indian narrative idiom promised to give way to greater experimentation within genre parameters. But strangely it became increasingly fashionable in influential quarters to dismiss non-mainstream films as ponderous and pretentious.

So, Bollywood remained trapped in the formula rut. As sugar-coated, feelgood designer romances, starting with Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994) and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) and stretching up to Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), overran the collective mindspace, truly inventive cinematic voices could only dream of breaking through the hi-jinks hubbub.

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