15 May, 2021

The Great Indian Reel Revolution

It has been a decade when cinema has seen more risk-taking than ever before - with subjects, treatment, roles, language, technique and limits.

The Great Indian Reel Revolution
The tortoise makes progress only when it sticks its neck out of the shell. After the exciting '70s—the flowering of parallel cinema, the arrival of Big B, the sudden rise in technical quality —in the '80s, cinema slept. The Manmohan Desai film-as-variety-entertainment formula ruled, no mother could have more than one child without losing one, music meant plagiarism, the hero persona was ho-hum hackneyed, and heroines seemed part of the set design. But then, suddenly, the '90s jumped out of bed, and did a dozen push-ups.

The last 10 years of Indian cinema have seen traditions thrive and die, formulas soar and sputter, entire new categories and idioms created within mainstream Indian cinema. Above all, it was a decade that saw more risk-taking than ever before. With subjects, treatment, roles, language, techniques and limits. It was a decade when nearly everyone tried something new. Leading stars happily played evil bastards. Strange ideas like a village cricket match in the late 19th century, or the life of a deaf-mute-blind girl got backing from big money. Young urban...

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