Have you ever imagined what it would be like dressed in your party wear, in the middle of a snow capped mountain, humming an impromptu song, swaying randomly to its beats with a girl on your arm? Well, if it hasn’t struck you as yet, this is Bollywood’s way of expressing love. Albeit random, a formula that worked for several decades was given a minor jolt at the end of the 90’s with the release of Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya.
Slums, guns, extortion, grungy actors, unglamorous actress’, all against the so-called formula were well-received. True to the name, it gave us an understanding how the real could be depicted on reel. The film also gave us Anurag Kashyap & Vishal Bhardwaj and the world of cinema wasn’t the same again.
Indian Cinema’s so called Golden Age, i.e. the 1950’s highlighted several socio-political issues. Do Bigha Zameen, Baiju Bawra, and Mother India to name a few managed to put across the mood of the nation. in the meanwhile Parallel Cinema took a dig at its luck with Shyam Benegal, Govind Nahiliani, Sai Paranjpe, Kundan Shah and Gulzar producing some profound real films.
1970’s was the era of Salim-Javed, Yash Chopra, Ramesh Sippy, Prakash Mehra, Nasir Hussain, and RD Burman, who made love’s chemistry formula sell. Having grown up on formula films, Farhan Akhtar, Reema Kagti, Kiran Rao, Aamir Khan, Anurag Kashyap, and Dibakar Banerjee decided to tread their own path. The aberration only came in the form of Karan Johar and clique who continued the dying trend of formula films.
In recent times, with the onset of the multiplex, genres are not being compromised on. Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai was a trend-setter. It was something that the new generation was craving for. With the success of New Age Cinema, directors garnered courage to move away from the usual and try different genres of filmmaking. Anurag Kashyap made the path-breaking Black Friday, followed by the much-acclaimed Dev D.
Dibakar Banerjee went ahead and showed us some real Delhi with his Khosla Ka Ghosla and Oye Luck Lucky Oye and took a leap of faith with Love Sex aur Dhokha. Yash Raj films, the pioneers of love stories too made the much-needed jump and produced films like Salaam Namaste, Chak De! India, Rocket Singh and Band Baaja Baraat. Neeraj Pandey, the director of A Wednesday and Shimit Amin, the director of Ab Tak Chhappan portrayed Bombay and it’s perils whereas Ashutosh Gowarikers floored the world with Swades and the multi-faceted Vishal Bhardwaj gave us his version of Macbeth.
The women directors joined the party as well. Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar, Kiran Rao, Nandita Das and Anusha Rizvi, all gave us remarkable films. Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat made a Babel out of Bombay, whereas Peepli Live documented the state of news media today and Firaaq told us about the troubles of living in the after-math of riot-torn Gujarat. Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar made foray into the newly crafted genre of love and adventure and the journeys they took were glorious.
Cinema has taken a leap towards showcasing a touch of reality, or else how would a Break Ke Baad and I Hate Luv Storys perish within a week of its release. Though the Golmaals and Rowdy Rathore’s will always exist, Bollywood will keep churning out films that will forever keep changing and raising the bar for the cine-goers and future filmmakers.
By Shreya Ganguly
You can follow her on Twitter here: @DaCrypticCritic