First, bits from the piece -- A Wave of Indie Angst Hits South Asian Cinema by Rachel Saltz -- that I'm specifically referring to:
Bollywood, until recently the home of fine romances with no kisses, now takes smooching in stride. Did anyone expect the younger generation of South Asian filmmakers to stop there? How could they, growing up not only with Bollywood — itself only a portion of the Indian film business — but also with Hollywood, Hong Kong cinema, indies and all the global culture the Internet can deliver.
You can practically see the growing pains in the competition films, mostly by first- or second-time directors. Often experimental, the selections are also self-conscious and terribly solemn. These films want to poke at corners of reality and humanity that the commercial cinema has traditionally ignored.
Now, questions I have for us all:
1) Based on your consumption of twenty-first century Bollywood and other Hindi cinema (but if you've read what is essentially my 'About Me' post, you know I tend not to make a distinction there anyway), do you believe the statements cited above are valid? Why or why not? Is Bollywood synonymous with escapism?
2) Do you pay attention to ratings assigned to Hindi films by the Central Board of Film Certification (also known as the Censor Board; official website here)? If yes, do you believe their ratings are credible? If no, does your perception of rating credibility vary when comparing India's CBFC and the Motion Picture Association of America?
3) "Bollywood has been undergoing an identity crisis lately, and the growing pains have been evident for too long." True or false? Why or why not? Do you like where it is and where it is headed?
4) Which is your favorite 'bold moment' in Hindi cinema? Please let the definition of 'bold' not be confined to how the media in the east and west are used to defining it for Bollywood. For example, I've always valued that boldness in subtlety with suggestive but classy lyrics has been a long-held trait, almost tradition, in Bollywood cinema. Boldness in theme and dialogue can be equally if not more effective than boldness in visual portrayals. (And please comment in good taste. Not to say you wouldn't, but you know how it goes.) This question is not limited by era, so if it's something that was considered 'bold' at the point in time it was released, it's certainly fair game for discussion.
Please feel free to ask questions of your own, and please respond knowing that my questions are not intented to: A) Be answered within the spectrum of film festivals -- we're talking about all Hindi films here, no matter the production sources and/or distribution channels; and B) Lead to discussions regarding the author -- in other words, what is being written is more relevant than who is writing it. As always, disagreements, while obviously encouraged for the sake of a healthy and constructive dicussion, are expected to be respectful.
Of course, I can't wait to share my answers (and if you've been reading for long enough, you probably know that I stand at an intersection point), but I'd love to hear from you first. So have at it, please!
I'll hope to be back with movie reviews soon. In the mean time, I must note that I recently added the new Apple TV to my home theater, and would very highly recommend it, especially if you're a Netflix subscriber.
Long live cinema.