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!