Rejection in the Oscar Awards – Yawning audiences and Duping producers!

We watch movies in theatres and now we have multiplexes to cater our pride and beat the hectic city schedules. But, have we sold our logic and reason to some unknown sheriff from a distant land or are we relentlessly poised to receive whatever trash we are subjected to? The answer to the question seems rhetorical. India produces the most number of films on this planet. However, we are yet to get congratulated by the biggest academy award in films, the Oscars! Let’s ask ourselves. Why?

India’s first ever entry to the Oscar “Mother India” got the nomination in the category of best foreign film, but lost by just one vote. After that it was a long wait of 31 years as “Salaam Bombay” by Mira Nair made it to the list of the last five. Recently, India’s interest in the Oscars was re-ignited when “Lagaan” was nominated but lost to “No Man’s Land”. I said recently to be ironical enough!

It does seem the Academy tends to favour European films with France leading the foreign language film nominations with 34 in total and having bagged nine Oscars, and Italy following with 27 nominations and 10 wins. But the Oscar has also gone to movies with people from Arab, Far East and Slavic backgrounds. Indian films never seem to have fitted the Oscar bill. Satyajit Ray, whom the Academy conferred with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” on his deathbed, never bagged a film-specific award. His “Pather Panchali” won 11 international awards, but no Oscar.

When will India represent Oscars like the ones in Europe and America?
When will India represent Oscars like the ones in Europe and America?

Ironically, Vittorio De Sica, who won two Oscars for “Shoeshine” and “The Bicycle Thief”, had deeply impacted Ray’s work. Even last year’s Oscar-nominated Iranian director Majid Majidi is a self-confessed admirer of the legendary Ray. Besides Ray, many filmmakers and an endless number of films have missed a chance at the Oscars but have gone on to join the repertoire of the finest cinema of the world. They include Jean-Luc Godard and Francoise Truffaut, masters of the French New Wave, and others like Yasujiro Ozu, Michelangelo Antonioni, Mrinal Sen, Claude Chabrol, Alain Resnais, Kristov Zanussi, Robert Bresson and many more.

The other Indian to have won an Oscar is Bhanu Athaiya, well-known costume designer from Mumbai. She was jointly named for the best costume designing for Richard Attenborough’s multiple-Oscar winner “Gandhi” (1982). In 2005, filmmaker Ashvin Kumar’s “Little Terrorist” got nominated for the Academy Award in the Best Short Film category. And then in 2006, “Born into Brothels”, a documentary filmed in part by children of sex workers of Kolkata took home the golden statue.

With Indian studios churning out 1,000 films a year, it has the potential to be a film superpower. An Oscar will help in consolidating its power. But most experts say that India is simply not sending its best to the Academy. We still believe in films that make money in box office and we deprive that handful of quality motion pictures celebrating the bogus and senseless Indian films produced all round the year. Leaving a few alternate film makers who are recently making the headlines, the trend of Indian cinema never took the right decision of making and promoting better stories along with quality screenplay and splendid direction. Believe me, the jury members of the Oscar look for strong scripts with tight direction and not stories of ghosts, disabled people or a historic literature that fails to go up to the standards of Gladiator or Lord of the Rings! So, why don’t we send the right ones?

India's recent entry to the Oscars...
India’s recent entry to the Oscars…

I believe the financiers are skeptical  lest they lose this so-called commercial market and the chance of looting the audiences by showing senseless trash for a tedious 180 minutes! The answers are still resonating down your throat, come on and speak it up! India cannot be a country producing films with rain dances! We have a better appetite for movies and we will claim our rights very soon! Investigate!

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture, expecting disarray in the system of film-making in India…

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We all want to stay in Hogwarts but are we all Harry Potter(s)?

Observation, Hypothesis, Experiment, Analysis, Conclusion; since the 17th century, the methodical way has been the generally accepted way to explore, discover, and acquire new knowledge. The actual process of intellectual discovery, however, is rarely so simple or objective. The human mind often leaps from statement to conclusion with ease, and rushes impetuous into hypothesis. The same is happening with the Indian cinema and eventually hampering the Indian audiences.

Experiment, Analysis, Conclusion...
Experiment, Analysis, Conclusion…
Observation, Hypothesis, Experiment...
Observation, Hypothesis, Experiment…

Again, remember—you are the best judge! There are no right or wrong answers. Just thoughtful ones!! Anything catch your fancy? It can’t be true. Everything needs to be very much logical even not much clear on the conscious level. Cinema is far beyond the silence camera and action. It is the life portrayed through the eyes of a very intellectual man who, again, has started from the basis laws of science- Observation, Hypothesis, Experiment, Analysis, and Conclusion. The difference lies in perception.

There is a very smart saying the enemy of art is the absence of limitations. Let us not make this statement into a verbatim. The world has lot to see and why not we start being the leaders. Cinema does not fabricate heroes, it depicts lives. We all wish to be in Hogwarts and for that we do not need to be a Harry Potter!!!

Candidly put into words by: Shreya Goswami – Guest author @mymotionpicture!

Shreya also wrote about Santa this Christmas!

What is still wrong with Indian Cinema???

In a 1948 article entitled, “What is Wrong with Indian Films,” Ray criticized India’s movement away from art and towards either musicals or heavy mysticism:
The raw material of the cinema is life itself. It is incredible that a country which has inspired so much painting and music and poetry should fail to move the movie maker. He has only to keep his eyes open, and his ears. Let him do so.

The "Ray" of hope for Indian Cinema!
The “Ray” of hope for Indian Cinema!

After thousands of years of cultural ecstasy any individual will tend to believe that cinema, rather Indian cinema would reflect something of a corresponding breadth and depth. Unfortunately, in India, quite the contrary is true, especially after the explosion of trade affairs associated with the art of film making and a development of entertainment industry known as “Bollywood”. It is quite evident that the low tastes of people are governed by the media and their perspectives in terms of box-office collections. However, is this really a reflective excuse to go completely brain-dead? It’s like a plague of spiritual dullness that is inculcated in our minds. And the effort was quite deliberate to keep the common man under control.

Even after 64 years of that article of which the extract mentioned above is a part; Indian cinema is still an amateur form of art that never gets proper recognition and decree in terms of international standards. What is still wrong with Indian cinema? It is so sad to re-visit Ray’s ideas and still mention that Indian movies are on the same creative line and the development was merely technological curbing the quality of intellect in Indian movies. Barring a few personal efforts the entire scenario of film making is still dependent on baseless stories and dance sequences with 50 odd people dressed up in the same attire, dancing with the same steps. FCUK.. How pathetic!

What is still wrong in Indian Cinema?
What is still wrong in Indian Cinema?

However, the great Japanese author Akira Kurosowa once remarked, “Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.

Two Great Film Director Satyajit Ray and Akira Kurosawa at the 1982 Venice Film Festival in Italy!
Two Great Film Director Satyajit Ray and Akira Kurosawa at the 1982 Venice Film Festival in Italy!

Even though Ray’s film was shot in B&W and in circumstances that were as impoverished as the world being portrayed in the film, the poetic concurrence of man to nature has hardly ever been done in a better way. There is actually very little plot to speak of, reminding one more of the improvised naturalness of De Sica’s Bicycle Thief than anything that had come before in Indian Cinema. The image and the sound are the real protagonists in this work of art. Once seen, who can ever forget those insects skitting along the surface of a pond, while the thrillingly precise accompaniment provided by the legendary Ravi Shankar finds just the right pulse of nature! Or Apu and Durga’s walk through a field of tall, white, willowy reeds as they discover a train outside their village. Or Durga’s ritual dance during the first monsoon rain. Or the terrifying night as the storm rips apart Durga’s room as she lies dying. Or the long-absent father’s approach to the crumbling house, the fallen Mango tree branch and the lone chewing cow. Each one of these images has infinitely more weight than the infinite factory of images supplied by Bollywood and most other cinemas of the country.

A still from Pather panchali - Satyajit Ray.
A still from Pather panchali – Satyajit Ray.
A still from Bicycle Thief!
A still from Bicycle Thief!

In addition, upon seeing DeSica’s The Bicycle Thief, Ray wrote in a 1951 essay, “The present blind worship of technique emphasizes the poverty of genuine inspiration among our directors,” Ray continued. “For a popular medium, the best kind of inspiration should derive from life and have its roots in it. No amount of technical polish can make up for artificiality of theme and dishonesty of treatment. The filmmaker must turn to life, to reality.” Mr. Ray also had the eye of a cinema poet and discovered an abundance of poetry in the reality of his mise-en-scene. Poetic justice was manifested with accurate camera angles and some pitch perfect vision. As if he could see the scenes he described on the script and could foresee them as a piece of art when they will reflect on a screen.

Quality suffers as quantity increases!
Quality suffers as quantity increases!

This article is not to assert the black sides of business quotients of the industry or to hamper the need of trade and economy but to lend a vision to all the upcoming film makers of this country. This is the time to make a mark and bring a change to the outlook of this profession. It is truly one of the most creative professions of the world and requires the creative efforts of many. So, why should we compromise the quality of the content of this form of art? Throughout the millennium, man has tried to enforce a standard of living that imitates a class just above their class. This has resulted in the death of real art and given senseless films a chance to make a mark on the box office and survive as a form of popular entertainment.

With due respect to all the film makers who sought inspiration from lives and made real life movies that depicted stories which connect to human emotions and expressions, Ray was perhaps the pioneer of cinema’s that had a vision.

A humble request to all who read this article: If you connect to my thoughts, propagate! Issued in public interest who love the art of film making or Cinema as a whole!

Looking back: “Development of authentic motion-picture criticism in India!

 

LET them EXPRESS…

An act of intervention should monitor the progress of the creative art (specially in case of motion pictures) and perceive the production in such a way that it acts as a catalyst to enlightenment and a social messenger for the entire country. However, India and its so-called intellectuals prefer to use their discretionary power in many other ways as well… Creative art is an endangered form of profession where the freedom of expression is fast disappearing. An authentic approach to cinema  and other forms of creative art is extremely necessary to ensure quality of these art forms!

 The word 'Cut', used more often by politicians than film makers!

A cartoon depicting the lack of freedom of expression in India!

 

Please voice your opinion about this senstitve issue and help creative minds breathe the fresh air… Vote above!!!

Development of authentic motion picture criticism in India…

A heading photo!!!

A section of the audience in every movie theatre prefers to appreciate the work of the film maker keeping the flavour of the film and the message conveyed by the film in mind. They can see through the scenes of the film and read between the lines written by the writer and as the movie comes to the climax, they develop a perception about the merit of the film.

How we see Indian cinema!

In India, criticism is hardly enjoyed, forget about appreciation. A critical appreciation of a film, music piece or any other piece of art always helps an artist to improvise his skills and diminish the unforced errors… However, constructive criticism in Indian films including the regional film industries was never encouraged. The result? A hell lot of poor quality films hitting the theatres every week and our taste for quality cinema is almost breathing its last breadths.

They ruled the Industry.

 What is Cinema for  you?

If you can answer this question without thinking, you will be able to evaluate the average quality of films made in India. A country where people die of starvation and kids hardly get the opportunity of primary education produces hundreds of films worth some billion shameful currencies! India never experienced a film movement like the ones in Europe. I feel that a mass movement was required to change the obsolete and paltry ideas. The entire conception of films, movies and cinema in Europe is different from what our so-called film makers think here in India. I am not speaking about the exceptions. We treat films to be a part of our entertainment. However, we hardly look for enrichment of ideas, thoughts and culture. We merely notice the art and the artist that took the pain to design that piece of entertainment. Film critics judge the success of a movie on the basis of its box-office collection. Had we read a few articles on European movies and their thoughts post world war-2, our notion about a “good film” would have been straighter and better. We the educated section of the audience are socially and economically responsible for this mass wastage of resources. We praise trash and we pay money to those people who make these trashes.

Crowds engrossed in watching a movie...

Our culture and studies are extremely limited when it comes to critical appreciation of a movie. We can easily understand that by comparing the standards of European movies in terms of its treatment. In India, film makers used to treat a story like a stage drama enacted in-front of a Camera. I know the statement give rise to a lot of other questions as well. However, if we start comparing the movies from an era of the late 50’s to today’s date, it is quite evident that European movies were far more advanced. We are the luckier generation as we get to know the views and perception of Indian film makers like Satyajit RayRitwik Ghatak, Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen, Girish Kasaravalli and some others. Their works were screened in various international film festivals. They had the taste of ‘real cinema’ and also were a part of the ‘film movement’, I was speaking about. Not with the European style but their works depicted the ideas and the culture of Italian Neorealist film movement, Russian futurist movement in visual art, French Impressionist Cinema, Soviet Parallel cinema and German expressionism. They practiced their form of art in Indian cinema abiding by the philosophies and views asserted by the leaders of these movements. These people tried to explain the various shades of cinema. Indian Film Education has started to see through their ideas and statements as far as film theories and film aesthetics are concerned. Indian film movements never shifted gears and lost their goals in between seasonal turmoils in the social, political and economic scenario of our so-called independent nation.

Two film critics in an auditorium in Europe. an old picture!

If we take the courage to look what’s happening beyond the seas, in the western countries, you will sadly realize that India’s contribution to this form of art is handsomely negligible! So, are we still nagging with our rich cultural heritage designed before centuries, or, are we ready to make a significant move to ensure that the people in the generations to come acknowledge this effort with a warm ovation. However, we are still waving the flag for commercial movies high up in the sky and getting entertained with what we call a package of happiness in the weekend.

Can’t we change our views and tastes for the betterment of this form of art? Can’t we stop producers who make mindless movies and name that entertainment? The answers are still pending. Revolution has various ends and edges. I stand by class of ideas and true culture which gives us the hope of progressive life in every sense.

A mymotionpicture presentation!

An era of moving pictures…

Plan a roof-top dinner there.. It is still a dream that keeps me going!
We were discussing kites and their tragic stories! I was staring at my dream!

“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are the eternity and you are the mirror.”

— Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

If memories were pictures that can move, we could have lived every wonderful day spent and plan hundreds of such memories. If pictures are just memories can we re-Live those moments once again.

The ever changing world seems so meaningful when we have the best people around us. We connect to their lives and the urge of living helps us to grow every day. If life was not mixture of sunny days and gloomy afternoons, life would have not been the same, so unpredictable yet so alluring.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

― Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

I give you a piece of my Life and I am sure you will never regret the interactions between us.

Lets make this Life worth living. Lets know each other and make it a Life in all the possible ways…