My countrymen’s serious lack of taste in good cinema has always failed to baffle me. I know my country well enough to understand that we are light years away from beginning to appreciate good cinema. How it came to this I still need to understand.
We started off on an excellent note when cinema came to India in 1920's approximately, we did exceedingly well and deservingly possessed a marked stature on the world map of cinema. But somewhere down the line the originality and brilliance of the men and women of India produced a mutated gene, which like a bizarre cholera outbreak reproduced into an acutely parvenu generation … a generation that lacked taste in good anything leave alone cinema.
A country full of novices we look like the African baboons, which I personally feel, is one specie of animals that epitomizes buffoonery. We look like baboons clad in cheap sadakchaap copies of Western designer wear. If you’re thinking of the ever so famous words of some ignoble buzzard, ‘copying is an art in itself’ then you and me obviously are not on the same page.
May be I am being extra harsh on my kitsch nexus which is interminably admiringly the object of affection of the west but I am disappointed. In us. In our sudden lack of taste.
Rang De Basanti is an ordinary film, just another Bollywood drama which invokes emotion through its impassioned invocation of our bloody colonial contemporary history.
Bollywood is the King of melodrama, which in itself is not a downtrodden identity but excess of anything is not good. I personally have become immune to its excesses. And so have a lot of my countrymen. Which is what I don’t understand, as to how they got so excessively intrigued by this average film.
Fine Bollywood isn’t half as sound technology-wise as Hollywood or creativity wise as European cinema but it has its high points. Rang De Basanti is perhaps one such or a half such high point. The reason for that is the film’s treatment, which is, I must admit interesting and if not copied then original but that’s about it.
Naïve in its approach towards our reality, the reality of the youth of India, the youth of India that spends three to four years studying inside dilapidated buildings of the Delhi University or some other university rather than the plush porches and verandahs of the India Habitat Center. In reality the youth of India do not learn about their proud past from frail uncharacteristic British documentary filmmakers. White people do not come to India to tell us about our previous generation’s achievements. They come to India to ask us about them. And we do tell them. We show them around … show them the real India.
What I also fail to understand is how everyone suddenly believes that the youth of my country have forgotten this history. I beg for you to reconsider. We cannot get past it. Its something we study and as we grow begin to appreciate and admire. We understand it and learn our values from it. We do not overlook our contemporary history.
But one must also understand that we cannot possibly be obsessed with it. At the end of it, it is history for us. And one in their youth must look toward their future rather than just the history and culture.
Here I rest my case … it is my bedtime ;-).