For many years, Hindi Cinema has been about aspirations, and it being the sole driving force to pull in audiences to theatres.
Everyone wants to go to the snow-capped mountains in Switzerland, dance around, and hashtag DDLJ in their photos. A lot of them do the trip for that one photo only. For years we’ve been following the norm of hero-and-heroine-ism in our films.
However, for a long time, we have made films that either generalise things or dilute them from their authenticity, so it reaches a larger audience and can be relatable for many cultures. The truth is — how many times can you weave a film around the same situation? How many “love stories” can we rehash?
A welcome change has been brought in by a lot of people who have come from various places and joined the madness of movie-making. They have their own stories, own struggles, which makes them unique. Directors like Anurag Kashyap, Shoojit Sircar, Sriram Raghavan, Sujoy Ghosh, Dibaker Banerjee, Shakun Batra, Imtiaz Ali, Nitesh Tiwari, Ritesh Batra, Tigmanshu Dhulia and many more, have been at the forefront of bringing a personal flavour to Indian cinema, far away from formulas.
They have been influential enough to change the craft, which has been breathing the same year for many years. Take 2017 for example — Who would have thought that a film about erectile dysfunction would have done a fantastic job at the box office (and otherwise)? Shubh Mangal Savdhaan was loved by not just the youth but people went to watch the film with their families and came back elated.
A still from Shubh Mangal Savdhaan
Secret Superstar, a film about a 16 year old girl who aspires to be a singer in a world which is suffocated with patriarchy, will possibly be the most-liked film of the year. These films are miles away from the flimsy tropes we have come to terms with, dealing with emotions that are real and not elevated for the heck of it.
A still from Secret Superstar
In Secret Supertsar, Zaira Wasim convinces us that she is Insiya from Vadodara who is tied down with the shackles of patriarchy and is looking for freedom through music. Her father is a middle class abusive man who believes in reprimanding his wife and daughter for anything under the sun, but loves his son immensely. Insiya is innocent, sincere and is full of so much anger. Frankly, full marks to the director Advait Chandan, who has managed to nurture this film and the talent of Insiya. He has handled so many tricky scenes so sensitively, for example we never get too much of the actual voilence in the film.
A still from Secret Superstar
The terrain changed because of a bunch of new writers, directors and actors taking the baton in their hands. Seeing how rewarding it has been, our megastars have finally decided to follow the path. We are not selling films anymore but reality and that is why more people are buying it.
A still from Newton
Hindi Cinema has been churning out wonderful content this year and the frequency of it is increasing by the day. Who would have thought a mega star like Akshay Kumar would be the face of a film which discusses the problem of sanitation in the country? Toilet- Ek Prem Katha was a wonderful way to propagate what the nation is still lacking. Akshay will now he takes it a notch higher with Padman co-starring Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor.
Topics that have taboo for many many years are coming out in the open and taking advantage of the popularity that mega stars have, they are creating awareness.
We don’t need to be hush hush anymore — menstruation in Padman, erectile dysfunction in Shubh Mangal Savdhaan, sanitation in Toilet- Ek Prem Katha or a dark comedy about a fair election in a conflicted part of the country in Newton, all now exist in the same space as Golmaal Again and Judwaa 2.
While Golmaal 4 is entertaining the audiences at par with the festive spirit of Diwali, Newton is making us proud internationally. As commercial films are still making the stupendous bucks that they do at the box office, the happy thing is that budgets are now being created for projects that might look risqué at first. Even studious are showing trust in scripts that might have not seen the light of day a decade back.
This article was first published on Firstpost