Readers Write In #458: Telugu cinema is having a dream run, and Indian cinema wants it now greater than ever

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By Alex John

in article 1

Telugu cinema is having a dream run, and Indian cinema wants it now greater than ever. Okay, no claims of prophecy right here, as I wrote this text within the “Reader’s write in” (hyperlink (1) beneath) about how Telugu cinema goes to unfold its wings solely after the roaring success of ‘Bahubali: the conclusion’ throughout India, and the unusual acceptance the extraordinarily ‘south-ish’ ‘KGF’ acquired within the north. But, there was an air of reluctance, an nearly snobbish indifference concerning the overwhelmingly ‘desi’ Telugu cinema invading Indian cinema, among the many ‘lovers of excellent cinema’. I concluded the aforementioned article by saying ‘” possibly Tollywood is destined to hold on with our ‘spice-cinema legacy’. Perhaps it’s filmmakers are going to maintain our ‘masala cinema’ tradition alive, and make the world take note of it, once more. Could also be it’s their flip to make us fall in love with the DDLJ-brand of cinema another time”. The handful of feedback underneath this text expressed considerations over us going again to that ‘artless’ period of songs and dances. Like, is that this pattern going to harm our elevated cinematic sensibilities? Will these movies impede our progress into being a nation producing nice movies? 

Properly, that is occurring. Telugu movies are on a roll everywhere in the nation. A hitherto unknown director is competing with Hollywood by way of scale and field workplace returns. Hitherto unknown actors like Prabhas and Allu Arjun have grow to be in a single day stars throughout India. Bollywood is quickly taking the again seat in the case of the pan Indian enchantment of movies. Is that this as a result of the Telugu business went again to the period of songs and dances? By no means, as a result of that period by no means went anyplace. It was at all times with us like an “embarrassment within the closet”. Telugu cinema simply re-invented it. Or I’d say they only…refurbished it. Take a look at what Allu Arjun has been doing for the final. say, 5 years. He has been doing what Hrithik Roshan has been doing half-heartedly for years. Each are terrific entertainers; each of them dance their hearts out, however it’s apparent that Hrithik fastidiously chooses movies that cater to the corners of Western sensibility in India. Allu Arjun, alternatively, danced his method into being one of many greatest matinee idols of the south. It was only a matter of time earlier than Bollywood realized the distinction within the attitudes of those large stars, and when it did, it resulted in an nearly unknown film star’s movie being handled at par with one of many northern superstars’ movies (Parallels to this may be drawn with the sudden rise of Kamal Hassan within the north when that one-man business known as Amitabh Bachchan began to dwindle and the opposite stars have been attempting too laborious to be hip, on and off screen-a pattern that continued till Aamir Khan got here up with the newest model of Romeo and Juliet at the moment). 

Apologies if I’m boring you with my earlier articles on this part, however in my first write-up posted right here (hyperlink (2) beneath) I attempted to make some extent on how movie industries can go down the chute if its administrators unyieldingly insist on giving its viewers the sort of movies they like to make, as a substitute of the sort of movies its viewers needs. I introduced up the quite dispiriting examples of the movie industries from Europe to West Bengal to spotlight this level. Now, I’m not attempting to say Bollywood has gone so far as the neonoir period Italy to nearly fully alienate its viewers, however its movies today are drifting away from its non-metro filmgoers. Its female and male superstars enchantment largely to the city viewers and their predilections. What as soon as have been thought of the quintessence of Indian cinema is now extra much less embarrasses our filmmakers. Bhojpuri movie business, which was as soon as thought of to be an upcoming contender for the dominance within the rural areas of the north didn’t fairly stick primarily as a consequence of its closely amateurish strategy to filmmaking. Now, what about our regional industries? Tamil cinema as soon as used to steer the southern cinema, however is now caught within the purgatory between spice-films and its nearly sickening political-launch pad motion pictures. There was a time after I was spending extra days in cinemas these performed Tamil motion pictures than in school rooms, however sadly, however these days of unapologetic mass-masala Tamil motion pictures appear to be lengthy gone. Malayalam cinema churns out common to nice movies one after one other, however its true acceptance in a nationwide degree nonetheless appears a really distant prospect. Non-KGF Kannada movies are nonetheless largely unknown to the skin world, and Yash, for some purpose, appears distant from the extent of stardom his Telugu counterparts attained in North India, regardless of being “the KGF actor”. 

Telugu cinema, alternatively, appears gleefully insulated from the maddening outdoors world of extreme political correctness and film woke-ism. It relentlessly runs its mass-market transfer machine that spits out rambunctious action-dramas these seldom care concerning the new-world sensibilities. Is {that a} good factor? It may be, when you’re continually served with motion pictures which can be so extensively politically aware that they usually neglect to entertain you. Films, mainstream or artwork, are greatest pleasant when they’re reflective of the society they arrive out of, not when they’re buoyant about it. Telugu cinema epitomizes this in a hammed up, flamboyant vogue. Its motion pictures possibly hyperbolic, however they’re rooted in the true world in order that a mean film goer doesn’t really feel like Alice in Wonderland in a film corridor, and the added spices and gala paradoxically serves the aim of escaping the very actual world the movie is rooted in. This brass-necked escapism is what missing within the different movie industries of India, and it’s this void that’s being occupied by the Telugu cinema everywhere in the nation. 

Now, am I a fan of Telugu masala movies? Properly, I’m not. I really like mass cinema for certain, however am extra enchanted by the Lijo Jose Pellissery college of cinema, the place you must fake to not be shocked once you see two obscure fellows looking for somebody obscurer, and in the long run, everybody flies off to the effing moon for no effing purpose. But, it’s not laborious to see what is occurring in our nation’s cinema, regardless of you want It or not. I usually fantasize myself sitting together with LJP, quoting his well-known strains “no plans to alter, no plans to impress”; simply that I’d add this to it; “no plans to alter, no plans to impress, however I wouldn’t need my business to be full of individuals like me”. Artwork-house/woke-ish romanticism would possibly make you’re feeling fulfilled, however time has already proved it could possibly be deadly for the very business you belong to. I felt actually irked when famous person movies made a comeback within the Malayalam business after a 2- 12 months hiatus which had led to a flood of nice OTT motion pictures, which I assumed was a pleasure kill, however it stays a reality we will’t flip our backs to the fact that no business can survive on these movies for lengthy. We want the extravaganzas that cater to the a lot bigger part of the viewers, otherwise you’ll see the industries that may produce such movies invading your film world. Even if you’re a lover of cinematic subtleties, you want RRR’s and Pushpa’s for the parallel cinema you like to survive. I wrote this on the danger of sounding snobbish, however I’m simply an off-center film buff who can also be very conscious of the true world our movie industries are set in. I’m going forward and writing what I wrote once more; “it could be the flip of the Telugu filmmakers to take us again to that point of more-hearts-than-brains, when entertaining the viewers was thought of much more vital than edifying it”. 

  1. https://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2020/11/06/readers-write-in-292-25-years-of-ddlj-thekind-of-cinema-indian-cinema-esp-bollywood-unwisely-left-behind/ 
  2. 2) https://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2019/10/27/readers-write-in-105-dear-coppolamarvel-movies-are-not-despicable-but-are-mediocrities-we-cant-do-away-with/
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