If India is an immeasurable country due to its complexity of languages and cultures, the cinema of this country of 1,350 million inhabitants could not be different, although the first image that comes to mind is that of the colorful Bollywood dances and their love stories.
It is a diverse production that has more and more international projection from the hand of “streaming” services, both critics and the industry itself agree on the International Day of Indian Cinema that is celebrated this Thursday, while in 2021 stories have shone about the discriminated Dalits or “untouchables” little explored by the Bollywood mass cinema.
EXPLOSION OF INDIAN CONTENT
The writer Roopa Swaminathan made evident the expansion of Indian cinema on the international scene with her book Bollywood boom in 2017 and since then, he explained to EFE, “the situation has changed exponentially due to Netflix and Amazon Primebecause streaming has exploded in the last three or four years. “
It is not just that the world population has hours of Indian content, from the blockbusters from Hindi cinema to self-produced series, just a click away -subscription through- in a time of confinements and rooms closed due to the coronavirus.
The Indian cinema has gone beyond Bollywood with productions that transcend the most massive and well-known style. Photo Video Capture
It also influences that some streaming companies have bet on India in recent years, where 1,986 nationally produced feature films received the approval of the Indian censoring body in 2017 according to the latest available report, generating a wave of quality content that for now has escaped the strict rules on content in the country.
“Streaming platforms don’t fool around. In Indian cinema you can get away with certain formulas that people in the West probably find somewhat ridiculousBut we were born with them, “Swaminathan acknowledged.
What kind of formulas? Film critic Shubhra Gupta told EFE an example: “almost childish” romances with the belief that you can have young people fall in love “but without making love on the screen.”
Bollywood’s most basic formula also worked for Indian cinema with films like Dancer. Photo Video Capture
Not that streaming platforms have come to save the day in India, a country that has a cinematographic tradition of more than a century and where hundreds of films are produced each year in different languages such as Tamil, Telugu or Punjabi, among others.
As in the rest of the world, the Indian film industry operates on different registers, Gupta noted. “On the one hand, we have the popular cinema of the great stars, in each of these languages. And on the other side of the spectrum, we have films with smaller budgets but with great ideals,” he explained.
Bollywood, a neologism that merges Hollywood with the city of Bombay, dominates the imagination of much of the world with blockbusters such as Dangal (2016), Secret superstar (2017) or the classic Disco dancer (1982).
“Secret Superstar” is one of the successful products of the Bollywood factory. Photo Video Capture
But the film historian Sundararaj Theodore Baskaran, who like others in the industry shies from the term Bollywood and prefers to talk about cinema based on the language, told EFE that the Tamil superstar Rajinikath is very popular in Japan.
Baskaran also pointed to the rise of quality feature films in the later years of Tamil cinema, with Jai bhim (2021) dethroning classics like Life imprisonment (The Shawshank Redemption) or The Godfather in the list of films best voted by users of the page specialized in film and television IMDb.
Is about a film focused on the repression against the “dalit” or untouchablesranked at the bottom of the Hindu caste system, and have received little attention in Hindi-language mass cinema.
“Hindi cinema is not culture-specific, it lacks a face, so it doesn’t deal with specific socio-political issues,” Baskaran said. The film historian claimed that Jai bhim it is part of a “Dalit cinema” movement that has flourished in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
The most committed cinema shows a social and cultural reality little known to the rest of the world. Photo Video Capture
“Some movies like Pariyerum Perumal (2018) achieved critical and commercial success, marking the advent of Dalit cinema. These young Dalit directors like Gopi Nainar have directly tackled the caste issue in their films, “he said.
Whatever the style, from vibrant Bollywood sarees to the realism of Tamil or Telugu cinema to classics like acclaimed Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray, Indian cinema is closer to hand than ever.
Source: EFE / David Asta Alares
Reference from clarin