Reality Cinema

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.

3 thoughts on “Reality Cinema

  1. Hmmm… actually I can understand why there aren’t many such movies… because few people go to see them. I mean the movie Bombay was made very recently after the 1993 riots. Bhopal Express – was another movie made about the gas explosions in Bhopal, how many people saw it? Has anyone even heard about it? I only saw it because as a kid I liked Lucky Ali’s voice and this movie has a song that he sang. A well made movie on partition in recent times was Pinjar.

    I think movie makers can make such movies but if there is no audience, they are shooting themselves in their own feet, no? But I must say that I have contrary views on such movies to begin with. I think that movies based on large scale events like these tend to incite sad long forgotten memories. And that dramatizing this in movies only skews/ worsens and causes need for justification in individuals. Since it is difficult to make an objective movie out of such a scenario, I think it is best to not make such movies at all. I mean we already have media skewing information for us already right? Do we need more?

    Copyright © Sonia


  2. Good thought Abhishek….cinema is the multiplex format is commercial and hence might shirk from running these films for business reasons…..can we incetivise them by providing tax sops on screening socially relevant films, I don’t know, might be worth trying. Other means of cinema distribtuion need to be explored- the web, subscription based services, DVD only route…finally the numbers who watch this genre will be limited. Money can still be made on them provided one can aggregate these audiences again and again in a cost effective manner!


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