Why ‘Popular Cinema’ is Poison

What do you say when asked to define popular cinema? Ah, don’t ransack that brain of yours, it’s simple – a steady stream of movies that earn their producers 10 times more the money that was actually spent on them. Ironically, 90 % of this popular cinema is filled with rubbish! Some are so bad that your mind wanders to superfluous matters — like how often does the hero comb his hair to keep not more than three strands of hair falling on his forehead, looking so spick-and-span?

Raj Kapoor was one of those rare filmmakers who blurred the line between popular cinema and meaningful cinema. Legend, in the true sense of the word.

Only some time back, I heard one of the biggest hit-churners of Bollywood claim, “People do not go to movie halls to let their brains be exercised, or let their intelligence be tested, people watch movies to get entertained, howsoever disgustingly brainless the offering is” He forgot to add, “So that’s why I make rubbish”

So, who do you blame for these miserable movies and the cringe-worthy alibis? The audience, who watches them? Definitely not. As someone said, if you feed them only rubbish, they will take rubbish, and they might as well start liking it. That’s the story of our popular cinema.

At this date, Indian cinema has turned into a filthy money churning machine with absolutely no respect for what it represents – CINEMA. Not that we don’t have good filmmakers; even we boast of Dibakars, Kashyaps, Dhulias, Rakesh Mehras – but these guys on their luckiest days would make a film that just recovers its cost.. And if I am wrong, if these filmmakers are delivering huge hits, why can’t others follow suit? Risk maybe?

Take the case of stars like Shahrukh Khan. Not so long ago, he came up with his most ambitious project, Ra.One. And look at what he did with that? Filled it with all the 90’s tried and tested, cringe-worthy cliched formula. I once read Naseeruddin Shah saying that Shahrukh Khan was never headed towards being a great actor, he was always headed towards superstardom.  Is SRK a great actor? Oh yes, I don’t have the slightest of doubt. Perhaps, he never wanted to be known as a great actor.

There is no dearth of cream at the top. But problem lies with the application, the lack of which earns them billions. People with the biggest financial might can rope in the best of directors to offer their audience a good cinematic endeavour,  but they are too scared to be not counted in the 100-crore club. And that’s their excuse for offering us lazy-farce.

Weighed down by the utter lack of conviction, cinema may die soon (to live another day). Some of it will happen to filmmakers, some of it will happen to filmmakers’ imagination, and the rest will keep invading. But someone, somewhere, will turn up to remind us why we go to the movies.

Rohit Raina

Rohit Raina

A writer by chance and leisurely on his way to become a writer by choice, Rohit is either ranting his ire out, or talking about the most inconsequential stuff around.
Rohit Raina
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