"There's an old saying about newspapers: They aren’t delivering news to readers, but readers to advertisers. In the Internet Age, the saying evolved to: If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product."
"...And while I derive great pleasure from some movies that might be described as slow or tedious, I also find food for thought in fast, slick, whimsical entertainments. I would like to think there is room in the cinematic diet for various flavors, including some that may seem, on first encounter, unfamiliar or even unpleasant."
Humans live their entire life as just as a spontaneous reaction" ~ Unknown
"Nothing is worse than a prospective (suitor?) audience-base, led up the garden path and left dangling …."
Why are Hindi films the way they are?
Against the background of India's rich tradition, Indian drama was reborn during British colonial interregnum in 18th and 19th centuries. The impetus came from two sources: the rich heritage of Indian drama and the exposure to Western dramatic classics through English. With the East India Company came European theatre to the educated Indian audience and Bengal being the epicentre, saw many Bengali actors performed English plays. Bombay on the other hand, had popular commercial theatres owned by rich Parsee entrepreneurs who later extended to Bengal too. Translations started appearing simultaneously of Sanskrit classics and Western classics, particularly Shakespeare. Till now drama had not developed as a major literary genre in Indian languages. Drama now began to flourish as a cherished literary genre alongside the modern genre of fiction, also a response to Western influence. There was corresponding unprecedented development in theatre: the rise of urban entertainment theatre. This arose in order to provide entertainment to the increasing population of big cities consequent upon industrialization. The new urban theatre is popularly known as Parsi theatre. This genre was an interesting mixture of Western Naturalistic drama, opera and several local elements. Spectacle based on huge settings and colourful backdrops was an essential part of it. The stage was normally divided into front and back for the staging of main and subsidiary action. Music was its life-breath. The actors of this theatre were also great singers. The acting became naturalistic and melodramatic in contrast to the stylized techniques of traditional Indian theatre. Parsi theatre productions chose their story-lines from diverse sources: popular mythological, folklore and contemporary life.
Before the establishment of indigenous ventures, Hindu mythological pictures were printed in Germany then imported to India via British firms. Their vast nineteenth century image manufacture transformed the nature of Hindu belief and worship but also through the illusionist work of artists like Ravi Varma (1846 - 1906) and several of his counterparts. In a sense 'classical' Hindu mythology was revived, romanticised and circulated all over the country. This set in motion a process of reconfiguration of the culturally heterogeneous Indian space into a more homogeneous Hindu space based on a commonly shared new iconic visualise. So the first popular Indian films were of historic or mythological kind about Gods and Goddesses, Kings and Queens. The very first Indian full feature length (Marathi) film was Raja Harishchandra was produced by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913. Dadasaheb Phalke wanted to inspire Indian about their mythology as the west had done with films on Christ. Interestingly, the female roles in the film were played by male actors.
In the 20s J.F.Madan’s Madan theatres brought fetishizing of women as sex objects in Indian films. The studio kept Anglo-Indian and Jewish scantily cladded dance girls to provide “visions of transparent promise”. Kissing passionately in silver screen was common in those days. Sulochana who appeared in films like Anarkali and Heer Ranjha, became India’s first sex symbol.
The birth of Hindi films (and singing & dancing) came with the ‘talkies’ and the ‘’New Theatre” (and the orchestra disappeared) and regional films started. Talkies changed the world. Films were made by adapting popular western literature or popular Bengali novels and stories by Parsee writers who were well versed in Urdu. There were also adaptations of Western classics like Shakespeare and Lessing. Unlike traditional folk and tribal theatre Parsi theatre was acted out in interior spaces, now called proscenium theatre. Geared to amuse urban middle and working classes this theatre produces a pot pouri of melodrama, humour, romance and social criticism.
Zubeida started in the first talkie, Alam Ara, where she successfully portrayed innocence with eroticism. This was the era of famous Parsee playwrights and poets. These were Parsi theatre influences, which "blended realism and fantasy, music and dance, narrative and spectacle, earthy dialogue and ingenuity of stage presentation, integrating them into a dramatic discourse of melodrama. The Parsi plays contained crude humour, melodious songs and music, sensationalism and dazzling stagecraft."
This worked well as India has a strong folk tradition of narrating mythology, history, fairy stories and so on through song and dance; which became popular from around the 10th century with the decline of Sanskrit theatre. These regional traditions include the Yatra of Bengal, the Ramlilaof Uttar Pradesh, and the Terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu.
I am interested in unfolding scene design, character design and image design; representing contemporary narrative strategy, narrative shot and narrative style. The flowing images, which combine aesthetics and ideology.
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