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COURT out of 2016 Oscar race, FFI needs to make changes in its strategies

December 18, 2015 6:51:41 PM IST
By Vishal Verma, Glamsham Editorial
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Sensing the sensibility worldwide or sinking in just artistic pride. COURT is now out of 2016 Oscar race. Film Federation of India currently headed by actor film-maker Amol Palekar needs some serious rethinking. The need to understand the pulse of the cinema lovers worldwide, while deciding Indian entry for the coveted Oscars in the best foreign language category in future, is the need of the hour.


Time and again we witness the same great Indian Oscar circus programmed on the same cliché understanding – choose the best ‘Indian' film it will work.  On the contrary the category – Best Foreign language film is not about the best 'Indian' film... It's about an 'Indian' film that can appeal to the universal audience in its best way.

When we turn pages of Indian Cinema's story in Oscar glory it is sad to find lessons given by Mehboob Khan's 1957 masterpiece MOTHER INDIA, Mira Nair's remarkable brilliance SALAAM BOMBAY (1988) and Aamir Khan's LAGAAN (2001), remaining unlearnt.

The basic common feature of all the above mention cinematic excellence was its sheer undeniable capacity to move the audience and capture them in its emotions without leaving its regional identity. Iran, Korea, Jordan is doing it. The terms Iranian cinema, Korean cinema is not just a phrase it's a full blown identity, why is Indian cinema popularly known as Bollywood still not a brand to be taken seriously.

It is ironical to find the maverick Iranian film maker Majid Majidi an ardent admirer of Indian cinema's legend Satyajit Ray. Ray sparked a revolution with PATHER PANCHALI (1955), which announced the arrival of Indian Cinema on the prestigious Cannes forum giving birth to the term called parallel cinema in India.

In 1998 - Majid MaJidi's CHILDREN OF HEAVEN lost to the Italian film LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL by Roberto Benigni – both strong on human emotions but Roberto Benigni's film got an edge for being a World War II tragic comedy, the Indian entry for that year was the tame JEANS starring Aishwarya Rai.

In fact the father of Asian Cinema Akira Kurosawa (said to be Ray's inspiration) complimented Ray beautifully by saying, 'Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.'

Than why is Indian cinema lacking behind in this podium and failing to make a mark as it should have done. We live in strange scenario world's top movie studios Fox, Disney are ready to invest but our filmmakers and Film Federation's top decision makers are found to be lacking in interest in seriously making the mark worldwide.

In no way it means that Chaitanya Tamhane's debut film COURT is a bad cinematic material. It's a gem of an art beyond doubt. But the point is COURT appeals primarily to Indian sentiments. Similarly last year a regional gem Gyan Correa's debut Gujarati movie – THE GOOD ROAD got nominated as Indian entry to the foreign language category obviously meeting with the same fate.

Prominent contemporary Indian filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta views expressed to me on this issue during an interview in past on his visit to Mumbai still stands true and offers solution. He said, “Biggest problem with Indian cinema is that it has never become a brand like ‘Chinese cinema, Iranian cinema, or Korean cinema. Indian cinema deals with themes which can be identified by Indian culture only. Indian cinema has never been programmed for festivals, mostly we make song and dance extravaganzas, which are great fun, but never taken seriously. Our sensible cinema fails miserably. For example - Untouchability still exists in India; you can make a good sensible film on this issue but do not expect the foreign audience to accept it. They will not believe it. If somebody touches someone why it is a big issue? Don't expect everybody to have done a research work on this country. You cannot deal with Indian problem which is not known abroad. You can definitely make a good film but never expect the foreign audience to understand that.”

Rightly said, Indian makers should evolve in this process, our cinema should definitely have it Indian roots but it should be strong enough to branch universally in its appeal to touch the heart of world.

Otherwise the great Indian Oscar circus will continue with boringly obvious results.

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