Who makes the best Indian cinema?

View Poll Results: Who makes the best Indian cinema?
Bollywood (Hindi masala movies) 47 34.56%
Southern Indians (Tollywood/Kollywood masala movies) 29 21.32%
Bengalis (Calcutta "art" movies) 34 25.00%
NRIs (Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, etc.) 26 19.12%
Voters: 136. You may not vote on this poll

#1 Jul 3rd, 2005, 00:34
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#1
1. Bollywood (Bombay: Hindi masala movies)
2. Southern Indians (Tamil Nadu etc. Tollywood/Kollywood masala movies)
3. Bengalis (Calcutta "art" cinema: Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Buddhadev Dasgupta)
4. NRIs (Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, Gurinder Chadha)

I was recently reading the Toronto Film Festival announcement that Deepa Mehta's long delayed "Water" will open the 2005 festival, as well as the announcement that Buddhadev Dasgupta latest film "Kaalpurush" will be premiering there, and it got me thinking about how Indian films fare around the world.

Bollywood films have always done well with NRIs, so much so that the Bombay film industry now actively fashions their films to cater to them (e.g. a little shorter, less melodrama, more western locations etc.) In the south, there's less focus on broadening their audiences, and the films often feel more vibrant to me. It's as if the filmmakers in the south are saying "Damn the rest, we like our masala hot, spicy and as over-the-top as possible!"

Meanwhile on the international film festival circuit, masala movies takes a back seat to artier fare from the likes of Mira Nair and Buddhadev Dasgupta. Deepa Mehta's work is almost always controversial, and the first 2 films in her elements trilogy "Earth" and "Fire" show an India that is not always pretty (in spite of the presence of the beautiful Nandita Das in each.)

In Cannes this year, Satyajit Ray was again honored by a 50th anniversary screening of "Pather Panchali", arguably one of the best films ever made that shows "the real India", and Ms. Das was even on the official jury. But nowhere to be seen were films from the biggest film industry on the planet. No Bollywood/Tollywood films screened anywhere in the official selection. An art film from Sri Lanka (Vimukthi Jayasundera's "The Forsaken Land") won the Camera D'Or, but beyond that the subcontinent wasn't represented.

So I ask, who makes the cinema that best represents India? Is it Bollywood, with it's mandated musical numbers and split focus on NRIs and the Hindi belt? Is it Southern India, with their lively no-holds-barred take on masala and focus on their smaller core audience? Is it the artistes of West Bengal, who focus more on reflecting "the real India"? Or is it the NRIs like Nair and Mehta who bring a sharp (and arguably more westernized) viewpoint to the Indian experience?

Toronto Film Fest Links: Deepa Mehta announcement, Buddhadev Dasgupta announcement
#2 Jul 3rd, 2005, 19:46
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#2
Interesting question. I voted for NRIs, though it's tough to figure out what "best" means. Bollywood produces a few serious-minded movies every year, though wrapped in the guise of popular entertainment. There's not much art cinema in India itself (save Aparna Sen), so the serious films generally come from Indian directors abroad.

"Monsoon Wedding" is a masterpiece--but it would be less so if it did not include heavy doses of Bollywood camp. Maybe serious art films in India derive some of their life from their masala popcorn cousins.
#3 Jul 4th, 2005, 19:52
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#3
Since when is Buddhadev Dasgupta an NRI?

Tollywood is in fact in Calcutta!
#4 Jul 4th, 2005, 20:36
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#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paagla Dashu Since when is Buddhadev Dasgupta an NRI?

Tollywood is in fact in Calcutta!
Yes, sorry the Buddhadev Dasgupta NRI thing is a typo. Should've been Deepa Mehta as it is on the top of the first post. Maybe a helpful forum moderator can fix it (since I can't edit the poll!)

As for Tollywood, the term as I know it refers to Telugu cinema which originates out of Andhra Pradesh.
#5 Jul 4th, 2005, 21:01
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#5
Mumbai is desperate to get international exposure and is aping Hollywood product-market mix strategies on one side and its storylines on the other.

Art film is almost dead,being revived time and again in the form of parallel cinema.

But the action is down south...its scope has actually broadened so wide that you can find art, meaning ful cinema, Speilbersque, masala mix, meant-for-middle-class, meant-for -youth, meant-for ladies (YUP!), meant-for-masses (front stalls), meant-for-anything-that-can-be-classified-as-market movies being made. The no of movies made down south far exceeds the Bollywood capacity and the hit-rate based SOLELY on box office collections percentages makes Bollywood movies look like poor babies. There is nothing like an NRI audience as far as South movies go...all of them are Indians as long as they watch them in the vernacular.

Look at the paycheques...Mr Bollywood (SRK) and One-Man Industry (AB)themselves never collected such high remunerations as the southie moustachiods.

Bollywood faded actress found nw lease of life (and good paycheques) down south and bid adieu to Mumbai, where the average life cycle of an actress' career is 7 days.
Down south, Box Office is still the king. Down south, records declared before the movie hitsthe theatre...ok ..ok...style substance, moustaches, glitzy costumes funny dance steps....accepted....but hey! They have a MARKET buddy! As far as marketing is concerned, Bollywood must look inside rather than outside to avoid a few white elephants.
...and I took the road less travelled.
#6 Jul 5th, 2005, 04:13
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#6

Hey, you are right

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandsaur As for Tollywood, the term as I know it refers to Telugu cinema which originates out of Andhra Pradesh.
Most of the time I have read the term Tollywood in press - the reference has been to Tollygunj (where film studios in Calcutta are) - but you are also right.

Quote:
Tollywood (టోల్లీవుడ) refers to both the Telugu and Bengali language film industries. Both the names derive the concept from Hollywood (similar to Bollywood and Kollywood), in the former case Telugu + Hollywood and in the latter, Tollygunge + Hollywood.
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#7 Jul 6th, 2005, 14:05
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#7
Bengoli Art movies (not all but almost) are the best in the world. This is my personal opinion.
#8 Jul 6th, 2005, 15:05
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#8
I would like to point out that Southern movies are not just masala movies. Malayalam directors make (or rather used to make) some very "arty" movies, including some which were so symbolic as to be incomprehensible.
#9 Jul 6th, 2005, 16:27
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#9

u forgot abt Malayalam movies

some of the best ART movies come out of Kerala and W-Bengal. This does not mean that others don’t , but the audience are appreciative of their stuff. MAsala movies from Tamilnadu and Andhra are a big hit nowadays in Kerala bcos their directors give them to many Art movies.
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#10 Jul 6th, 2005, 16:50
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#10
Telugu Art movies ...Nimajjanam, Oka Oori Katha, Rangula Kala, Matti Manushulu, Bhadram Koduku, Show (2004), etc.

Commercial classics: All movies made by K Vishwanath (Sankarabharanam, Saptapadi, Sagara Sangamam, Sirivennela, Swati Muthyam, Svayamkrushi, Swati Kiranam, Subhalekha, Sutradharulu, Suprabhatam , Swarna Kamalam, Siri Siri Muvva etc). He is known as "kalatapasvi" in AP for his passion for and promotion of performing arts in movies.

Jandhyala's satirical middle class comedies (Rendu Rellu Aaru, Aha naa Pellanta, Srivarili Prema Lekha, Chanti Abbai, Chupulu Kalisna Shubhavela, etc)

No...Telugu is not all Masala...there is enough serious content too.

South India's first mythological block buster dubbed into 9 languages including Bengali ?(Maya Bazaar) is a Telugu movie.
#11 Jul 16th, 2005, 01:34
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#11
Bollywood gives us more than just Masala movies. There are really good movies in Hindi. But since you have mentioned
Quote:
Bollywood (Hindi masala movies)
, I had voted for Bengalis (Calcutta "art" movies), I like Satyajeet Ray movies.
#12 Jul 20th, 2005, 01:55
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#12
Malayalam movies??

Usually when talking to indians, they mention malayalam movies only as a soft-core erotic movie industry. In fact. i saw many posters in kerala, advertising them.

To be honest, even if i were interested in seeing them, the heroines on the posters looked soooo fat.

other than that, i will only say, that thanks to ar rahman and a couple of other guys (illayaraja, or sth sounding like that), tamil movies have the best music...
kannamoochi yennada yen kanna....
#13 Jul 23rd, 2005, 19:05
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by zenkris Malayalam movies??

Usually when talking to indians, they mention malayalam movies only as a soft-core erotic movie industry. In fact. i saw many posters in kerala, advertising them.

Similar to Thailand reminding one of free-sex and whores and Hamburg reminding one only of the Reeperbahn!

Mlayalam movies remind one of Sex because sex sells without advertisement.
Beyond it, one has to know about Adoor Gpalakrishnan, Aravindan, John Abraham, Fazil, Sibil Malayil, Shaji Karun, K. G. George etc to know the extent of classcial Malayalam cinema. not many movie industries in India have so many talenetd directors.
Last edited by rangss; Jul 27th, 2005 at 05:24..
#14 Aug 20th, 2005, 22:05
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#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by rangss Telugu Art movies ...Nimajjanam, Oka Oori Katha, Rangula Kala, Matti Manushulu, Bhadram Koduku, Show (2004), etc.

Commercial classics: All movies made by K Vishwanath (Sankarabharanam, Saptapadi, Sagara Sangamam, Sirivennela, Swati Muthyam, Svayamkrushi, Swati Kiranam, Subhalekha, Sutradharulu, Suprabhatam , Swarna Kamalam, Siri Siri Muvva etc). He is known as "kalatapasvi" in AP for his passion for and promotion of performing arts in movies.

Jandhyala's satirical middle class comedies (Rendu Rellu Aaru, Aha naa Pellanta, Srivarili Prema Lekha, Chanti Abbai, Chupulu Kalisna Shubhavela, etc)

No...Telugu is not all Masala...there is enough serious content too.

South India's first mythological block buster dubbed into 9 languages including Bengali ?(Maya Bazaar) is a Telugu movie.
..and Ram Gopal Varma is a Telugu and his first movie 'Shiva', in Telugu was a trend setter. If I remember right it ran for almost two years.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain
#15 Aug 20th, 2005, 22:23
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#15
Sekhar Kammula's Anand, Aite and the recent Anukokunda Oka Roju both by Chandra Sekhar, Show by Nilakantha, Sekhar Suri are some good examples of indie flims in telugu...its happening. RP Pattnaik, music directro, has also made a short film called 22 minutes...
Big blockbuster expectants like Andarivadu are not anymore in contention.

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