Art is to enlighten a curious mind. Art is to provoke thoughtfulness in minds with vain spirit. Art is truth and like truth its appearance is abstract. Only those who have an eye for it, can find it. And cinema is one of those many art forms. However, like all other art forms, cinema has an identity of its own. There is direct human interaction involved which gives us all the more reason to understand better. Also, this gives the creators of a movie all the more reason to make it understandable. We Indians can proudly say that we have that. Thanks to Indian Regional Cinema.
Indian Regional Cinema, although not as famous as Bollywood, has qualities which go higher than current Bollywood standards. They are thought provoking, meaningful and give the audience a purpose. One such movie I came across recently was Marathi movie, Deool (The Temple). Village boy Kesha hallucinates of Lord Dutta and the word spreads around the village. Once it reaches the Sarpanch (village foreman), he (Sarpanch) uses it to gain people’s support for political gain. The movie has flawlessly explained the role of politics of religion in India. And it has done so not at the cost of negative portrayal of religion, unlike many recent Bollywood movies. Another regional movie from Punjab named Pingalwara based on the life of social worker Bhagat Puran Singhji who gave a new life to destitutes which has now become the All India Pingalwara Charitable Society. Inspiring and enlightening concepts, effortless and convincing performances, natural and relatable situations, beautiful shots, and a balance of modern, regional music. If you compare for the sake of observing difference in quality, you’ll find that while the shallowness and lack of creativity in Bollywood movies today simply teach the audience to dismiss religion, Deool teaches the audience to keepsake it as a faith and not national policy maker. Despite these qualities of our regional cinema, meaningless Bollywood movies, most of which are monotonous love stories, are given preference by the audience. There was a time when Bollywood stood tall and proud; classics remind us every now and then. But today Regional Cinema has beaten Bollywood by maintaning the grace in art which Bollywood was once admired for. While we know that intensive PR and promotion has created this undeserved hype around today’s Bollywood trends, we need to look into what is keeping regional cinema from the same when it is clearly deserving. If regional language is a barrier then why don’t channels like Doordarshan dub these movies in Hindi or English? Why limit a beautiful cinematic concept like that to a particular language and culture when you in fact have a common language for the nation? Contribution to the growth of regional cinema should also be made by production houses of channels like Zee Cinema, UTV, Sony Max et cetera by broadcasting the same dubbed in Hindi for the national audience. It is also very important for the audience to see through the blandness and naivness of Bollywood today. Until and unless we are willing to resist the PR tactics which are being fed to us, we will not be able to become an intelligent audience.
It is true that to be able to create art is a quality. But it is also equally true that to be able to appreciate art is a quality as well. It is the kind of quality which educates one with knowledge. And like we say, everyone has the right to education. We are responsible for becoming an intelligent, thoughtful society. Indian Regional Cinema has the potential to make us that. Its diversity, its simplicity in accordance to our Indian society and lifestyle, its regards for our traditional values, its adaptation of modern cinema and so much more will inculcate in us an understanding of how to become a wise society, how to become better than better, how to realize something through a movie character.
And if I added a few more regional movies to that list above, we might as well get the answers to all those questions we have for life. Go ahead then, make your list.