AMBANI AND Spielberg, Yash Raj Films and Walt Disney, Ramesh Sippy and Warner Bros — these are just some of the grand associations made in the Indian film industry recently. From the looks of it, business is the key motivation. What is disappointing, however, is that the Indian film industry is not using this as an opportunity to bring about a much needed change in its standards.
Despite Bollywood ‘conquering new worlds’, the Indian role is mostly limited to post-production. For starters, western biggies could pass on some much-needed creative and technical advice. Starting with the storyline.
What keeps them from doing so? One of the reasons behind this ‘step brotherly treatment’ could be the lack of originality in Indian films — the stereotyped heros and heroines, the obvious comic reliefs.
So, how can these tie-ups help the Indian film industry? For one, Indian filmmakers need to learn the art of making movies based on books and real life stories. Take The Da Vinci Code, Changeling, Batman and the Harry Potter movies — all adaptations of books. Contrast these with the movie Hello based on Chetan Bhagat’s One Night at the Call Centre, and one realises that Indian filmmakers have a lot to learn.
Special effects are another area that Bollywood has much to learn about. What is passed on as special effects are movies like Bhoothnath. Animation, too, seems to be in a nascent stage. The likes of Walt Disney and Pixar can definitely help Indian animators find a stronger footing.
Another genre Bollywod could use some help in is that of horror movies. More often than not, they provide scope for laughter instead of a good scare.
Improvements in cinematography, storyline and technical advances are required. Such improvements could even potentially filter down to the burgeoning Indian regional cinema.
We read about Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai being recognised internationally, with their wax statues in Madame Tussaud’s museum. But what about the Indian cinema that has given them such a stand? We must reconsider the making of Indian movies in a way that enhances their making and watching.
Madhiraju studies at the Amity School of Communication, Amity University.