The Right Medicine

As a filmmaker, when one is busy with one’s work, the last thing one actually manages to find time for is to watch films! (Yes, it’s true!) Still, combining duty with work, I do take out whatever time I can to view some of the current Hindi releases in order to review them for Upperstall. And then wish I hadn’t done so. Mostly, turkey after turkey, week after week – Bollywood is totally brain dead, has hit an all time low and just when you think a film can’t get any worse, the next one inevitably is. A notable exception of watching Indian films actually being an enjoyable experience over the last few years has been Marathi cinema that is managing to do some of the most interesting work in the country. Hats off to films like Gabhricha Paus, Valu, Tingya, Harishchandrachi Factory and others; this coupled with some highly watchable films in Tamil – Chennai 600028, Mozhi, Paruthiveeran, Subramaniyapuram, Abhiyum Naanum etc.

Often, one has to miss better international films that release because one’s available time has gone to view the junk that Bollywood piles on us in the name of filmmaking. These films do nothing but make one frustrated, angry, bored, depressed and yes, even anguished at the quality of our filmmaking. After all, it was exposure to mainstream Hindi cinema, to the films of Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Bimal Roy, Raj Khosla, Mehboob Khan, Vijay Anand and many more that made me enter this line. I can’t imagine how they would have managed in today’s times to make the films they did. Would any marketing head have green-lighted projects like Pyaasa today, I wonder…

However, watching a good film can be a soothing and healing experience. It once again provides you with faith in the power of cinema and energizes you into believing that it is possible to make that film you want to. Watching The Hurt Locker after the mindless Hindi junk repeatedly – to see a filmmaker in control of her craft, to see a story well told, to experience the various elements that go into a film come together into a coherent, cinematic whole – the experience was nothing short of exhilarating!

No doubt about it, watching a good film is easily the best medicine for retaining one’s sanity from the mediocrity around us today. Makes you seriously consider why waste one’s time (and money) on many of our films that are not even worth watching, leave alone reviewing!

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  1. I’ve even given up cribbing about it. The films (and TV shows) reflect the state our society is in. We need to just ignore the marketing trends and do what we want to. DVDs zindabad!

  2. Batul, didn’t really want to to go into crib city here. Was more about the joy of watching a good film after ages. Yes, DVDs zindabad but watching good movies I hope. No point watching trash on DVD either! 🙂

  3. Anil, I think they know no better… but again, this piece for me was more about the feeling of watching a good film and feeling nice to be a filmmaker! 🙂

  4. Could not agree with you more. The most frustrating thing in this is that the people in charge do not seem to notice a fact that is SO obvious. or if they do, then they do not seem to be interested in doing anything to improve it.

  5. True! Watching films like The Hurt Locker, or The Band’s Visit or Lives of Others (on TV) after the constant fare of mindless mediocrities dished out by mainstream cinema industry restores ones faith in the beauty and greatness of our beloved medium.

  6. Monish: A good film is the one thing that keeps us going! Sadly, those moments have become fewer… As Banno suggested, must make maximum use of DVDs.

    Batul: But only if it’s so bad it’s good! 😀

  7. Filmbear, Bigflix. They have a pretty good collection, and in fact their subscription comes to less than 300/- a month. Plus, we have a Bigflix store right below our house, so in theory, we can get 2-3 dvd changes a day if we like, if we like. Or you book online and get it home-delivered. 🙂

  8. Reminds of my college days when we used to rent Video Cassettes for Rs 10 a film and watch them on VCRs! Sigh… 🙂

  9. Ram, you can’t believe how nice the feeling is. It reaffirms one’s faith in films and filmmaking. And since the feeling is getting to be less frequent these days (more to do with what I have to watch – there are enough good films out there), feels all the better when it happens. 🙂

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