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Flash Back in Indian Cinema

February 1, 2010 6:16:52 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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India would probably be the only country when the cinematic content uses the veritable tool of flashbacks to provide a linkage to the narrative. While flashbacks have been a part of the content for quite sometimes, reflecting the Indian tendency probably to keep on seeking inspiration from the past, it really came into its own being when Sunil Dutt made a whole film that was situated in flashback and aptly enough the film was titled as YAADEIN. Such was the forceful manner of the narrative that YAADEIN went on to win various film awards at international levels apart from getting recognition at the national level as a work of merit.

It also needs to be emphasized here that while flashbacks as a tool for contextualization of the content was used sporadically, its illustrious cousin, Dream sequence, was used quite frequently by the makers of Hindi cinema for running around the trees or for entering into the realms of fantasy where sexual connotations were suggestive. Even then, flashbacks continued to have their vitality.

Incidentally as a genre of content continuum, films of Big B have used flashback quite regularly. It probably started with KABHIE KABHIE, followed by HUM as also in AAKHIRI RAASTA. In fact in AAKHIRI RAASTA it was the flashback that was used for reunion between the father and the son. No wonder, Karan Johar who professes about honing his skills through Big B's films, when made his debut into the world of Hindi cinema through KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI used flashback in a novel way for telling his story.

Following KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI flashback became integral part of the narrative for casting a miasma on the audience. The latest example of effective usage of this tool was in 3 IDIOTS where Raju Hirani used it developing the character of Aamir Khan. Incidentally, flashbacks have primarily been used for this purpose of building up a strong portrayal of the lead characters and the same was reflected in most of the hit films in the recent times be it GHAJINI, ROCK ON, JAANE TU YA JAANE NA, DIL CHAHTA HAI, SAATHIYA, KABHI KHUSHI KABHIE GUM, CHALTE CHALTE, VEER-ZAARA, LOVE AAJ KAL or NEW YORK. It would indeed be clearly evident from this list that these films which are one of the most successful films in the recent times have indeed relied on flashbacks to hit bulls' eye at the box office.

The success of flashbacks could probably have a connect with the Indian psyche where the value of the past and the sweet memories associated with it continues to find echo throughout the life and therefore when it is given expression through cinematic oeuvre the audience of the country just laps it up.

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