04 December, 2020

On With The Offbeat

Two high-profile releases could change the fortunes of serious films

On With The Offbeat

THERE is little common ground between Bandit Queen and English, August. While one—stark, searing, sledgehammer-wielding—delves disconcertingly deep into the heart of darkness in rural Hindustan, the other, armed with a wickedly funny script and a quiver full of hard-edged one-liners, lays bare the chaos, confusion and corruption that prevails in small-town India. Even in terms of style and mood, the two films could well have come from two different planets: Shekhar Kapur's unblinking study of caste-gender hatred has no room for redemption; in Dev Benegal's maiden feature, which uses English as its principal language, whacky, irreverent humour is an escape chute.

The only link that hitherto bound the two films together was their steadfast defiance of Bollywood's narrative conventions. Now, there is another. Both films are being accorded high-profile all-India releases in December. Bandit Queen, made on a Rs 4-crore budget for UK's Channel Four, is being released all over India by Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL), while English, August, a privately produced film...



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