Sunday, May 24, 2009

the debate of Arty and Commercial

i saw 'ek daav dhobipachchhad' the day before. the fight and hence the strike of multiplexes is still going on, and hence i have started watching movies at home on DVD. 'ek daav dhobipachchhad' is a marathi comedy starring ashok saraf and others. a complete timepass for couple of hours. i do like watching movies which are complete comedy, without much of troubled minds and disturbed consciences. not just comedies, i also like to watch kuch Kuch hota hai, HAHK and K3G kinda movies with its plush production values and absolutely feeble stories.The escape from reality function of cinema is perfectly served by these movies.
the problem arises when i meet some of my class mates. they turn extremely sour faced when i tell them that i just watched K3G. "what the hell!" they scream. "couldnt you watch anything a bit more realistic? you are actually fan of popular cinema??? whats the use of all those film appreciation classes we took?? i cant belive you are a media student and you actully say that you like ek daav dhobipachchhad!" and blah blah blah......... .............. ...............
ok! perfectly accepted that i am a media student and yes i took film appreciation course ( which contained lots of those aesthetics ad critic and social reference of relaity to the cinema lectures!) and we did watch pather panchali, manthan, wild strawberries, great dictator. Bicycle thief, chairy tale and so on. the sole purpose or say main purpose behind watching these were to appreciate how beautifully and logically these films are made, sans any typical masala, how do they really distort the perceptions of reality around us and hoe symbolically the reality is prtrayed. accepted. but my argument is very simple. how do you decide what is the right cinema to watch? how do you compare two diffrent genres of film and say thet one film is better than the other? od even fundamentally how do you keep two different bases for measuring the quality of cinemas and then try to compare???
there have always been two streams of film makers right from the beginning. the art film maker and the commercial film maker. now, it so happens that most of the times the producer naturally wants his film to do well, and hence the film maker shapes his story in a way tht would help his film to get commercial success. pressence of a big star to the inclusion of item songs are examples of this. and there is nothing wrong, because the masses are attracted to theatres with these things, and hence the chances of his film doing well increase. the story also has to be a simple narrative structure, in w way which masses can UNDERSTAND whats going on the screen. surrealism and symbolism and expressionism can find places elsewhere!
the art film maker ( i hate the word- say non commercial film maker or alternative film maker..yeah that suits better!) the alterntive film makres appear to be not so concerned about the business the film does. they want to give something else. they would not care if audience understands what the film talks about. it is never meant for the cheap masses- but for the arty classes. the symbolism is the soul of these films, depicting a true reality ( see wild strawberries- complicated film i must warn!) this has been happening since decades now. amar akbar antony and lawaris and HAHK versus ardhasatya, manthan and ankur.
The whole problem arises when the two genres of films refuse to stay together in a happy mood. or, whats worse is when a filmmaker makes a bulshit and ribbishly abstract film, which not a single head understands and then he defends that saying its not for cheap masses- my film is the true art film meant for classes! who the hell decides that a simple narrative structure is a low standard thing and an abstraction is high standard? who the hell has induced this idea of "popular is not good"?
go to a film appreciation course, and just look at the movies. at the end of workshop there is this overwhelmed crowd, without any reason. they say that "we were watching so useless and dumb films till date. now we know how these films are good, and whats the true cinema" WHY? WHY?? WHY??? and if a particular group cares so much about the general lack of 'cinema-literacy', why cant it teach people how to appreciate the popular films? HAHK or Amar Akbare Anthony is bad and cheap mass targeted movie they say. ok. why?? tell us how to read or see or appreciate these films and then decide how bad they are. WHY IS THERE AN ASSUMPTION THAT POPULAR COMMERCIAL FILMS ARE BAD AND ART FILMS ARE GOOD?

there is also a rare thing here. usually the majority tries to take hold of the 2% of minority in any field. they do not want them to be different, want them to be similar to them, to be uniform. here, the minority blames and abuses majority and says how bad and cheap they are! funny!

the matter is very simple. when there are abstract things like a persons choice, liking etc in question, there are no goods and bads. there are differences. but gauging a persons worth just because he also watches one popular or art film is not fair! i personally watch wild strwberries, manthan, till recent Dev D and gulaal. and i also watch HAHK, and lage raho munnabhai. and my choices live perfectly happy with each other, without one interfering into others domain. or is it the eternal battle between the art and the commerce which reflects in day to ay life, the education and the cinemas as well????


Tia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tia said...

I don't think commercial and arty cinema are always mindless and thought-provoking, respectively. I do have problems with films like KKHH, K3G, Munna bhai etc because of the skewed representation of women. I don't think there is a problem in watching a film that doesn't say anything earth shattering but I do have problems with seeing films that send out wrong messages about the place of women/class and caste structures etc. I saw Doghat teesra and it was such a stupid take on people from konkan villages as daft and practically incapable of adaptation. This is what I don't like about mainstream cinema. At the same time there are supposedly arty films like Metro which I think sucked royally. Under the guise of being a progressive story it just superficially touched topics and then had a stereotypical ending. Hyderabad Blues 2 was a crappy, pseudo arty film as well. So it's a mixed bag, I don't think there is any one stream of cinema that must be watched. In fact I doubt there are streams. I think there are, if I were to put it simply - good movies, decent movies, bad movies and stuff that should have been documented by a movie camera. I mean Rock on had no great message, it was just good music, a decent story line and funny dialogue. I loved it! Where as Imagining Argentina shook me up, and I loved it too. I agree with you, who made these definitions of one kind of cinema as superior to another. All a film should be judged on their own credentials.

Muukta said...

Well... There are defianately two classes of cinema, Art film and commercial film.. And it becomes really odd to decide which class is superior..
My personal opinion is that a good film is the one that gives its message in very understandable way to arty classes and even to the masses! Films like both Munnabhai s, Tare zameen par, thodasa rumani ho jaye!, Anand, Bawarchi etc..
Also it is not always important for a movie to give some message, at times it could just remain as simple enjoyment! That is also important! Films like Angoor, also TV show like FRIENDS
So basically it would be better to stay away from fight between arty cinema and commercial cinema.
I think it is just the IMAGE that "ART FILMS ARE GOOD AND COMMERCIAL FILMS ARE BAD" We just need to break the imag and see what we are getting from the film some message, simple enjoyment, some times both! and sometimes nothing. When it is Nothing you always have a choice leave the movie and go and just do not strain your mind thinking about it!