Oct 20, 2008

Indian Cinema's contribution to world cinema certainly needs a second review

From Sri.K.Hariharan :



Honestly we, the cineastes of India have been so badly brainwashed that we abuse our films without ever asking why they make it so in the first place.


(We publish Hariharan's comment on our previous post here )


Dear friends at Konangal and visiting film societies

I would like to thank you all for giving me a patient hearing and agreeing with me that Indian Cinema's contribution to world cinema certainly needs a second review. I have noticed that film lovers across the world take their national cinema seriously first before discussing world cinema. We seem to be definite exception to this rule since we have all been brought up to believe by our elders and our elite to believe that our cinema is vulgar and cheap. So we clamor for accreditation from the 'geniuses' at Cannes and Venice to tell what is good!

Now isn't this so s
ad? Don't we really have our 'own' yardstick for what is good cinema outside this code? Do we depend on 'international' authorities to tell us what is good Indian music and dance? Either we don't know how to accept our films as worthy or is the white man's judgment superior? Honestly we need to get out of our apolitical attitude and decide to study our own cinema simply because it is made by one of our fraternity. In today's political one would be naive to believe that something really 'good' exists. So when someone asked me at the meeting to name a few 'good' Indian films over the past 20 years I was honestly flummoxed. I have never thought of searching for good and bad in cinema because they are meaningless terms.

Fore me there are only appropriate cinemas and whatever we as lovers of cinema choose to recognize, is 'appropriate'! Imagine a situation like this. You go to meet a friend and when you meet him in his house you are overcome with joy and inquire cheerfully about his well-being. Your friend turns away and does not seem too impressed with your greeting and you feel something is wrong. Later, you find out that his father had just passed away a few days ago and you did not know about it. So you go and apologize although what you did was not something bad. It was only inappropriate!
Honestly we, the cineastes of India have been so badly brainwashed that we abuse our films without ever asking why they make it so in the first place. But we are willing to accept anything as great so long as it is stamped by the 'Brahmins' at Cannes and Venice.

Honestly my friends we have become the Neo-Brahmins of the film culture world. The more that we know through film society screenings which our so-called 'illiterate' friends have no access to, makes us feel so proud & superior. My question is 'Should we encourage such blatant elitism?' Or should we learn to at least understand the psychology of our common 'rasika' and in the process deconstruct the complex world of Indian Cinema.
If we do not take this initiative now we might just realize that it is too late. There are lots of post-modern scholars in the USA and Europe writing about our cinema and thanks to them our own Rajnikant will soon win the best actor award at Cannes. And then of course we will have a retrospective of 'Rajni' films and start comparing him to De Niro and Depardieu. So let's get this elitism out of the way as fast as possible and start encountering the 'real' cinema.

lots of love
Hari

konangal's response - Pon.Chandran writes :

Dear Mr. Hariharan,

We welcome your observations and critique on the "elitist" approach towards our own cinema and record our response as under:

"We at KONANGAL, fully concur with Mr. Hariharan on the indifference of the "elitists" or as he calls "Neo Brahminical" approach towards Indian/Tamil Cinema. What we mean by "good" cinema is not value judged or a comparison with foreign cinema, but is an attempt to examine the "appropriateness" of cinema, with all its nuances, in a given social context. It is essentially because of its "appropriateness", many a films, which includes our own, have gained the "status" of "world cinema". (Native in character but international in appeal). It is only owing to our profound passion to have more of such "appropriate cinema", from our own milieu, that we tread into the path of "world cinema". Understanding Cinema cannot be separated from understanding the people and their consciousness. In this context Konangal shall rededicate itself, for examining our own cinema and the people concerned towards understanding and transformation of cinema and societal relationships, for a better world".

Best Regards
Pon. Chandran

2 comments:

Konangal - Phone: 9443039630 said...

Dear Mr. Hariharan,

We welcome your observations and critique on the "elitist" approach towards our own cinema and record our response as under:

"We at KONANGAL, fully concur with Mr. Hariharan on the indifference of the “elitists” or as he calls “Neo Brahminical” approach towards Indian/Tamil Cinema. What we mean by “good” cinema is not value judged or a comparison with foreign cinema, but is an attempt to examine the “appropriateness” of cinema, with all its nuances, in a given social context. It is essentially because of its “appropriateness”, many a films, which includes our own, have gained the “status” of “world cinema”. (Native in character but international in appeal). It is only owing to our profound passion to have more of such “appropriate cinema”, from our own milieu, that we tread into the path of “world cinema”. Understanding Cinema cannot be separated from understanding the people and their consciousness. In this context Konangal shall rededicate itself, for examining our own cinema and the people concerned towards understanding and transformation of cinema and societal relationships, for a better world".

Best Regards
Pon. Chandran
KONANGAL FILM SOCIETY

nikhil said...

In reference to your words, Mr. Hariharan, there are big books written on Shah Rukh Khan, Amithabh Bachchan and Rajnikanth. AB even went with his son and daughter-in-law to Cannes. That hasn't made Indian Cinema internationally recognised. Because these people do it nor for the art form, but for money and popularity. Not that we do not know to pick our own great filmmakers, but the media wants to highlight only the beautiful and the rich. Instead of these people, why don't we analyze the films of M.T.Vasudevan Nair or Sreenivasan? They are beautiful movies which stand out on their own. And for your kind information, Indian Cinema is not just Hindi and Tamil. There are also other languages which make Indian Cinema. The names which I have mentioned above are writers and directors from the Malayalam film industry. We are a society who do not know to find out the good filmmakers in our own country.