For the first time in the history of the arts, in the history of culture, man found the means to take an impression of time…He acquired a matrix for actual time…the virtue of cinema is that it appropriates time, complete with that material reality to which it is indissolubly bound, and which surrounds us day by day and hour by hour. Time, printed in its factual forms and manifestations: such is the supreme idea of cinema as an art.Andrei Tarkovsky
By Jeff Richards Hi folks. I’m from Canada. Did you know a few weeks ago that the mayor of Toronto was named Rob Ford? Well, I bet you do now. You’ve probably heard the allegations, the admissions, the whole sordid tale-to-date. And if you haven’
Choices and Chances…
There has recently been a lot of buzz around the Official selection of a Best Film for the Foreign Language Category from India. And according to popular opinion The Lunch Box was suppose to be the favorite choice. But instead the Jury decided to send The Good Road to the competition. Now me having not watched both the films, got curious over the decision, as the topic was the talk of the town ever since The Lunch Box released.
Here are couple of articles including the comments that I found interesting and why after reading them I think that while a good story can come from any where it is still a point of popular opinion when it comes to any kind of appreciation a film deserves… and often a small cinema must struggle to gain attention regardless how novel the story is.
Also, I was personally hoping that Midhunam would make it. Because I believe in watching the story than watching the film. How many films are purely appreciated on the basis of the story and how media attention often diverts the spot light from deserving meaningful cinema. And how often that happens in a country like India where more than thousand films are released every year.
Yet everybody is only talking about the possible chance the country has missed because of the well informed following of The Lunch box. Whereas nobody knows about regional cinema like The Good Road (which won the National Best Feature Film in Gujarathi) and Midhunam (which should have won the National Best Feature Film in Telugu). And this happens every year.
I just wished that the both Film Federation of India and National Film Awards did something that would make the selection process of a deserving films as transparently as possible and provided a platform for screening those films annually where audiences can have their say.Because on the centenary occasion of India’s cinema, it’s people need to find and watch the most meaningful cinema it’s country is producing without the popular box office baits blinding them to such cinema.
Bottom line : We need to recognize our own Best film first rather than finding Foreign recognition to choose our Best Film.
What defines a Hit?
This is something that’s taunting me for a while now since I watched The Front Row yesterday where Anupama Chopra asks Actors Imran Khan and John Abraham… “The biggest hit the country has ever seen is Chennai Express, does that bother you?”… to which Imran says (If she’s was referring to Box office numbers then) “… Life of Pi grossed 7000 crores”. Now Chennai Express crossing 250 crores, sets the new benchmark for commercial Hindi cinema. The previous being 200 crores by 3 idiots.
Well my point here is what really defines a hit and something struck me this morning, 3 idiots clearly was a film that won praises critically and commercially and I know I’ll watch this film thirty years from now with the same admiration I have for it today. Now I didn’t watch Chennai Express, and hence cannot say. But my instinct tells me this is not a film that I may remember thirty years from now.
The known fact is that Sholay (1975) is actually the biggest hit this county has ever seen. Diwale Dulhania Lejayenge (1996) didmake more money than Sholay and had a longer theatrical run, but Sholay had a greater impact on Indian pop culture scene that any other movie.
Today Hollywood has clearly cracked the formula for manufacturing a movie that can cross one billion dollars effortlessly. But does that mean there are so many movies as good as Titanic, which did good critically and commercially with greater cultural impact globally with far less publicity and marketing than Avatar.
So what really defines a Hit? What is the criteria? I have come to conclusion that Hit is broad term and there are many factors determining a films longevity and profitability. Word of mouth and longer theatrical run versus shorter theatrical run and more number of screens during release. Today movie marketing has evolved to control a Hit rate of the movie and how much it can make. But once in a while there will be film which only runs on it’s own defining a what makes a real Hit.
Un-learning/Re-learning: Telugu films (cont.)
the film: Midhunam (2012)
Watching this film was like a wake up call. It was just like some old saying that you would travel around the globe for something but return home to find it. Mithunam was just like that. It’s sheer simplicity all the way. The film is about a coming of age relationship between two elderly couple, a Husband and a Wife in a South Indian village living alone taking care of each other. Every scene is literally a cultural folklore like storytelling conveying the dynamics of human bonding in a simplistic as is form. It’s like the camera is secretly enjoying this couple’s compassionate caring for each other. The film also teaches you how to tell a story with novelty, without giving away freedom of expression or wanting to sell for commercial success or make it for ego satisfaction. Because it reaffirms the concept of sticking with a subject regardless of it’s potential to appeal to post-modern cliché movie goers. It takes a lot of courage and a lot more conviction to tell a story so simple as this. It is “the” film to relate to and elicits everything that’s more than any emotion any other film can, by reopening our eyes to eternal unconditional love. The little sorrow in the end is more like sense of hope after journeying through the relationship of the couple.
Mithunam is simply a masterpiece and a something that I can look back even after decades to learn and relearn the craftsmanship of cinema.