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50 years of Bhojpuri Cinema: Mainstream cinema still not giving it due desserts

February 15, 2011 12:38:59 PM IST
Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
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2011 is being celebrated as fiftieth year of film making for Bhojpuri cinema but the mainstream world of cinema making including those associated with awards, PR campaigns etc., seems to be oblivious of this fact, without factoring in the premise that the audience of Bhojpuri cinema now comprises more than 30% of the population that has spread all over the country side and provides an interesting marketing proposition for giving this segment serious attention.

Fifty years ago, the first Bhojpuri film named GANGA MAIYA TOHE PIYARI CHADHAIBO had created a big impact in the world of film making by achieving a cult status. This film had songs rendered by the likes of Mohammed Rafi as also Lata Mangeshkar and the fiftieth year of the achievement indeed should have been celebrated in Mumbai, but for want of recognition it is being celebrated in Patna. The category of Bhojpuri cinema, though has attained fifty years of its existence, it has done so, based on its sheer merit, and without any government support, though successive governments have made policy pronouncement to support this industry.

Spread of Bhojpuri cinema during the last decade in particular was catalyzed by the manner in which the canvas of Hindi cinema was expanding. The candy floss romance which had an upper middle class income bias, could not find a connect with the lower strata of the society, for whom cinema is the only form of entertainment, and when Bhojpuri cinema started being made in a big way, this category literally lapped it up. An example would prove the premise. Ludhiana one of the biggest districts in the country, having a predominant Punjabi population has two cinema halls where on a regular basis Bhojpuri cinemas are shown. In the context of Punjabi dominance in the world of Hindi cinema, Bhojpuri cinema being able to carve out its niche, that too in a Punjabi heartland is a clear pointer to the spread of the patrons to different parts of the country who indeed find a connect with their motherland through this cinematic miasma. It is altogether a different matter that the kitsch that is delivered through Bhojpuri cinema is an overdose of crude sex and violence, but what the heck, these films are making money.

The advent of Bhojpuri cinema has given sustenance to scores of out of work technicians in Mumbai as well. May be, the time has now come that the award functions that delineate the development of cinema need to give space to Bhojpuri cinema as well, only then would it be true reflection of the process of evolution of cinema in the country.

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