Last night I caught myself thinking about watching “Black Friday”, a movie narrating the tragic events around the Bombay bomb blasts in March, 1993. I suddenly realized we have so few films on issues of national or regional or individual tragedy. We haven’t created movies around events which have had dramatic negative effects on the collective psyche of the society. These are issues which play a substantial role around how we see other people, other regions, other religions and other ethnic group. These issues shape opinions and give direction to our thoughts and actions. Think of events like the partition or the various wars that the country fought. Finally, “Parzania” came to the surface after about half a decade of the massacre in Gujarat.
What are we afraid of? Is it the pain of tearing apart old wounds? Or is it the fear of reopening the debate and controversy? Or is it plain aloofness – absolute refusal to participate in things that directly don’t affect some of us? Or is it escapism – creating an artificial sense of well-being
We have loads of movies around fantasies – Switzerland romance, village damsels, rich-girl-poor-guy-and-no-consent-from-family, Supercops, Superheroes and Rags to Riches – talk of it and we have it. But, we have run away from reality. Of course, the 60’s and 70’s did give us movies relevant to the realities of that time – middle-class struggle, politics, bureaucracy, unemployment and the like. But, suddenly we chose to snap the strings that bound reality to cinema.
I really feel that “Reality” cinema is a huge opportunity waiting to be tapped. It has the potential to move from posh multiplexes to second-tier cities. Given the low cost of production, it can be a money-spinner. But, above all, it will help people closer to reality and will shape the psyche in a better way.