Do you hear the fan's voice? Behold! Here comes the first and official Bollywood Wishlist. Movies that we would love to see being made in Bollywood! Movies that we are sure will set the cash counters ringing! Movies, that we are sure will get people talking!! Movies that will make us, the fans visit the cinemas again and again. This is a fan's plea to the Bollywood production houses. Are you listening?
The noughties (2001-2010) was a decade in which winds of change swept through Bollywood. Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai releasing in quick session set the tone for what was to be a watershed decade for Bollywood in terms of the kind of subjects that were taken up by directors. Filmmakers like Ashutosh Gowariker, Vishal Bharadwaj, Farhan Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra took on the system and gave us lilting cinema. Aamir Khan made a mockery of the “formula” and “rules” of Hindi cinema and gave us some of the most memorable films of the last ten years. The rise of the multiplexes resulted in the integration of parallel and mainstream cinema and the emergence of the “small film” Attempting films like Peepli Live, Dasvidaniya, Yeh Saali Zindagi, Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi, Stanley ka Dabba would have been unthinkable in the 90s but these films were not only released, they actually made money and were appreciated. But even as the young and restless filmmakers are exploring new subjects, telling stories that have never been told before in ways that they have never been told before, there are some bewildering blindspots that Bollywood seems to be developing. These are some extremely common and popular genres of cinema which have been knowingly or unknowingly completely ignored by filmmakers. Lovers of Indian Cinema would love it if filmmakers were to take on these genres and complete the revolution which seems to have hit a plateau currently. Here are some genres and types of film that we would love to see Bollywood filmmakers play in. Here is the Bollywood wish list
1) A “Bunch of guys on a mission” film: This is the sort of a film type, if made well can create exhilarating edge of the seat drama. The only credible attempt in this genre has been Raj Kumar Santoshi's Khakee. There have been other feeble attempts like Farhan Akhtar's Lakshya and Deewar (2002). Khakee was a competent film that fell just short of being a great one. But, we want more! We want somebody to attempt and pull off India's “Inglourious Basterds”. Our modern history and current geo politics give us enough and more material to write a riveting “mission” film. How about a mission to eliminate a top terrorist leader from across the border? Vishal Bharadwaj, are you listening?
2) A well made Biographical story: Filmmakers have expectedly steered well clear of this genre in India. Due to fear of controversy and retribution, even the ones who have attempted a biography have had to mask their scripts to such an extent that the final products have had very little authenticity. Mani Ratnam's Guru springs to one's mind as an example of the timidity that filmmakers and production houses have shown. The fact is right wing parties have in deed demonstrated that they will not think twice before killing a film for their benefit (if there is one). However, the only way we can get rid of this menace is by making more and more biographical cinema and forcing the law enforcers to give adequate protection to theatres, filmmakers and audience who patronize a film that has been right fully passed by the censors. This is critical because this genre has the potential to give us cinema that can provide amazing personal insight into the lives of a lot of public figures. If I had to vote for one public figure whose life should be made into a movie, it would be Indira Gandhi! The 1971 war, Independence of Bangladesh, The Shimla Agreement, Emergency, her election defeat in 1977, Sanjay Gandhi's death, Operation Blue star and her subsequent death would make for riveting cinema! Is there a production house out there willing to take the risk?
3) A good ol' classic Whodunnit! This is a genre that isn't entirely alien to Indian filmmakers. 100 Days, Khiladi, Gupt are some movies in the last 20 years that spring to mind. Having said that, what is bewildering is that this genre has been conspicuous by its absence in the “revolution of the noughties” we were referring to. It is anybody's guess as to why films of this genre have dried up given the dramatic possibilities the genre offers. Manorama Six Feet Under is the only shining example of a good whodunit made in the last decade. This is the sort of genre that requires a filmmaker with complete control over the medium and a script writer who knows how to structure his story and pace his film. The former we know we have, the question is do we have the latter? In any case, here is wishing that we get A Hound of Baskervilles type classic who dunnit story that the country will talk about during their sutta and lunch breaks!
4) A good animation film: While there are a lot of 18+ people who love this genre, there is little doubt about the fact that for an animation film to be a success, the kids must love it. For the kids to love it, the parents must show them the film. And it is here that Indian animation cinema faces its toughest challenge. It isn't “cool” anymore for the parents to show their kids a “Hindi” animation film. Just look at the number of parents who talk to their kids in English these days. Hanuman Returns, My Friend Ganesha have done moderately well but no animation film has really broken the sound barrier. On this one, filmmakers in India are indeed faced with a challenge. While our scriptures, Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle et al ensure that we have enough material to last us 50 years, the challenge will be do it in a way that pleases the crowds and rakes in the moolah. But who is to stop us from hoping. Here is wishing for a fun filled animation film that we can all enjoy! If I have to suggest characters on which to make an animation movie, my pick would be Pran's Chacha Chaudhary, Sabu and Raaka! Remember them? Chacha Chaudhary's brain works faster than a computer!
5) A Spy film: This doesn't singularly refer to a James Bond type spy film, nor does it refer to serious, tense cross nation espionage film. It refers to both these kinds of films and more. Even a movie about under cover cops would count as a spy film. Again, this is a film type that is laced with cinematic opportunity. Infernal Affairs (The Departed) taught us what a thrilling subject this could be. Again, we have immense possibility within the country to indigenize the genre. My vote using the genre would be to mingle it with comedy. How about a spy mission gone wrong? Funnily wrong? What say Anurag Kashyap?
6) Adventure: Another genre that has been inexplicably ignored in India. How many of us freaked out on 127 Hours? Now just to be clear, a lot of films are called adventure films. Even Ra.One is an adventure film if we go by the definition of this genre. But the kind of films that we are looking at here, are the ones that involve nature. How about a movie on an expedition to Mount Everest gone wrong? Sounds promising to me. Is any one listening?
Science Fiction & Political satires are two other genres that have been underutilized in Bollywood. Needless to say, all the above genres provide ample opportunity for filmmakers to write hitherto unwritten chapters in Indian Cinema. It will be the kind of cinema that will get the fans thronging the cinemas and talking. We, the fans are waiting to lap it up. Here's to an Academy Award winning movie from India from our Bollywood Wishlist
Shivcharan Pulugurtha works in sales for an MNC. Born in a family of lovers of cinema, Charan lives in a constant "state of film". He dreams of making / writing a film some day. He started writing movie reviews on the internet 6 years back. He hopes his articles reflect the thoughts of the hard core lovers of cinema.
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