Panaji, Nov 27 : Some of the leading film critics of the country engaged in a conversation on the new age of cinema and how the lines between commercial mainstream cinema and alternative cinema are blurring here at 49th edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) on Monday.
The panel included critics Bhawana Somaaya, Rajeev Masand and Anupama Chopra along with trade analyst Komal Nahata, filmmaker Shaad Ali (Bunty aur Babli, Saathiya) and Ankur Mehra (Facebook).
This is especially true in a year where some of the biggest films have been those without stars but with amazingly fresh storylines. These include films like Badhai Ho, Stree and Raazi.
Starting of the panel on a light note Komal Nahata said, “Because we don’t pay for our tickets and popcorn, we try to save other people’s money by giving a fair opinion.” Rajeev Masand added that “a lot of people don’t know what we do”, to which Mr. Nahata retorted, “Even I don’t know what we do.”
Things soon took a serious turn with conversation veering to how films are judged in India. When asked about his opinion filmmaker Shaad Ali mentioned that, “Films should not be judged by how much money is spent on them. Everyone works equally hard on their films.”
Throwing light on the role of exhibitors and their perceived knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, Komal Nahata said, “All the exhibitors understand is that ‘if the film gets an opening, then it will be a hit and if it doesn’t then it will flop.’ I don’t agree with that. That is why I like to see the film with the audience. The opening day figures of a film are not as important as the feeling and mood of the audience when they are watching a film.”
Speaking on the on-going audience evolution and their changing tastes as far as cinema is concerned, Anupama Chopra said, “There is no art-house cinema or mainstream cinema. What is Andhadhun? What is Badhai Ho? What is Sriram Raghavan? Is he an art-house filmmaker or a mainstream filmmaker?? Now the lines are blurred, almost extinguished.'
Rajeev Masand said, “It’s really an exciting time. Ideas and themes that wouldn’t usually be touched upon by the mainstream are today getting funded.” Komal added, “The audience has evolved, they see world cinema on their smartphones, they are receptive to different themes now. Therefore they appreciate films without a star-cast or middle of the road.”
The audience peppered the panel with questions on what the future holds for Indian cinema and how they see the market evolving further. (UNI)