Planet Bollywood
Commercial Cinema Versus Off Beat Cinema
- Pankaj Kumar Sinha           Let us know what you think about this feature article

The film industry in India has over the years argued about commercial cinema versus offbeat cinema. Which cinema should be put under higher pedestal? The movies which have more audience in masses and bring in more commerce to the production houses or the movies, which are critically acclaimed and win awards?

In our country, the media doesn't make much sense about their choice and understanding of cinema so how can their critical acclaim be taken so seriously. Does the media really understand the pulse of Indian movie goers? The person watching the movie in a multiplex may have different point of view compared to audience of single screens. In today's time, most of them have become film critics through their facebook page or twitter. Do film going audiences really read the reviews and watch the film? Most likely the trailer of the film decides seventy percent of the audience and the rest by word of mouth.

The awards are not even taken seriously by actors. Even the corporates give awards for employees in the organization to motivate them so they stay. Today actors gets an award and tomorrow we don't even remember that. The awards are also not fair judgement of movies, which have really been accepted and loved by the audience. The commercial success of the movie is the most and only important thing for the production houses. You are making movies for audiences not to watch alone so the more the audience the more the more the credibility of the film for producers.

There is also war between stars and actors. The star can still do an off beat cinema and pull more audience for such films but can an actor do total commercial film and succeed? Ninety five percent chance they will fail. Like it or not the audience also want to see good looking heroes and beautiful sexy heroines on the big screen. For example, Nawazzudin Siddiqui will be accepted in Gangs of Wassepyur but he won't be suitable for roles like Rahul and Raj, which Shahrukh Khan does.

Likewise we will shell more money to watch Deepika Padukone or Katrina Kaif then Konkana Sen Sharma or Kalki Kolchein or Richa Chadda. We know the latter are better actresses but as an audience, you can't watch every movie in theaters due to cost of ticket.

Whether the film industry accepts it or not, there is a high amount of piracy - usually you are able to see new movies on your laptop the day after the release. Most of the audience will shell money to watch movies in cinema halls showcasing big stars like Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshon and Akshay Kumar. This will not change in India soon. The actors should try become stars first and build an image with an audience. They can experiment with films once they are big stars.

When you want to go theaters with family and friends, you want to watch happy and fun film with nice peppy songs. The off beat cinema fails at that because the content is bold and cannot always be watched with family and children. The off beat cinema can often be dark, serious and sad in content as well as lacking humour. The audience has enough problems in their lives to watch depressing films. Making movie could be an art for film makers but it is just entertainment for the audience. We would like to see more entertaining films with big star actors. Experiment with the film but it should have enough entertainment for audience. Actors like Irfan Khan, Nawwazuddin Siddiqui and Manoj Bajpai are great but they also need to work on their personality and build their star persona. Aamir Khan and Ranbir Kapoor are great example of actors doing off beat films in commercial formats. Everybody needs to follow them.


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