Road to Sangam – Journey of a Vaishnav Jan

On April 21, 2010, in Movies, by pkmahanand

Road to Sangam tells us the story of righteousness over fundamentalism, truth, human relation over religion. It gives a genuine message of love to the humankind. This film is not an eye opener for only fundamentalist Muslims but for everyone who ignores humanity while following a religion. It reminds us to seek the truth and ask a question before accepting anything blindly.

As supported by Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, India Islamic Cultural Centre, Gandhi Peace Foundation etc this movie doesn’t gives a feeling of documentary movie but an independent story to get involved with. The way of presenting a sensitive theme is admirable by Amit Rai. Paresh Rawal is brilliant in his character; Om Puri is normal in a small but appreciable role. But all the rest actors are not convincing. May be they are regional actors. Some scenes are not looking genuine. Cinematography could have been better. Songs are mainly hymn type, but very soothing and appropriate also. Especially “Alla ishvar naam tero” is a nice number to listen in Kavita’s voice. Not to mention I always admired Sandesh Sandilya.

I recommend this film to everyone, watch at least once, ignore the technical clichés and you will feel yourself delighted. Try to find the message within and you will feel it’s not a movie but an experience.

Bollywood and Its Way of Storytelling

On April 14, 2010, in Movies, by pkmahanand

When it comes to Hindi/Bollywood/Desi movies, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The answer is music, dance and entertainment. But is that what movie is all about or is that the true meaning of a movie?

NO.

A film is a way of storytelling. Many people still don’t know and can’t accept this. But it’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I am not defining this for them who visit theatre to relax in the weekend or hang out with near/dear/impressed ones on the special occasions. This definition is for the moviegoers who watch a movie to get involved with a story.

I don’t say that Hindi movies don’t represent storytelling, they do actually. But the real movies are very few. The major cliché we can find here is the genre. After watching a regular desi movie it’s hard to say what the genre of it is. If we take the movies of 70’s and 80’s commercial ones, they contained everything starting from drama, romance to fight and comedy. May be during that time it was hard to sell a movie without all the masala elements. The movies of 90’s were also like that but in quality very poor compared to that of 80’s. But if we go back to pre-70’s we can find very artistic yet genre oriented movies. Watch any of V. Santaram, Satyajit Ray and Shakti Samant’s movies and you can feel it. Looks like the quality of storytelling went down because in 90’s especially the later 90’s most bollywood flicks were rip-offs, lifted or openly inspired from other regional or international movies. It gives a funny idea about the graph: in 50’s and 60’s the filmmakers tried to make/show a film. During 70’s they noticeably earned from it so the masala films started in late 70’s and it continued. In late 80’s the Indian population exceeded 90 crores and some filmmakers with business instinct thought of making films for money only. Storytelling died. And that’s why all the bollywood classics are from 60’s and 70’s. Its noticeable that in 50’s and 60’s films the directors produced the movies themselves. After that studios hiring directors started.

The only one I saw held its genre consistently was YashRaj Banner, the ROMANCE genre. And till date they are showing the same thing and selling well also. But the problem with them is after 1995 (the DDLJ era) viewers are unable to distinguish between their products. The way of showing love and affection remained same in all their following projects and seemed like their only target viewers are college kids and teens. Now every romantic film comes from them (including other banners too) are either rip-offs or inspired ones. May be the technology and internet made the world smaller than before so that people are getting a seen-this-somewhere-before feel .

Quentin Tarantino once told, “I don’t make film for the America, I make it for the earth.” Walt Disney said, “I don’t make movies to make money, I make money to make more movies”. Both meant it. Does this feel come from bollywood? How many desi filmmakers can claim they make films for the earth/world? Are they not supposed to make? Yes or no you say it. There are a large number of people who prefer world movies just because there isn’t enough quality movies in bollywood. And the more sad thing is as all movies are not available they depend on piracy.

After 2000 the filmmaking in bollywood looks different. I can’t say what changed but looks like something changed. They added technology, visual effects, CGI, cinematography, bolder and versatile actors etc. they even kept a genre instead of showing all-in-one flicks. But these are not the essential elements. They can accelerate impression but can’t guarantee to give the true presentation. Directors like Vishal Bhardwaj, Anurag Kashyap came out and started their own innovative ways of commercial filmmaking and it worked also. It looks like there is going to be a time in bollywood very soon that people will get quality movies.

There are other factors which need developed in bollywood. The major things are: Story, screenplay, character and dialogue development and use of appropriate soundtrack. May be we need another discussion for them. After all I want to say, repeated quality checking of the unfinished project and being true to the art of storytelling is the only way to produce a FLAWLESS movie.

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