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Last Updated : Jun 20, 2020 08:10 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Bollywood ready for retake?

Cinema keeps its make-up on round the clock on its 70 MM face. Like any other commercial sector, it has its ups and downs. Money woes, psychological damage, exploitation and inequalities of all kinds – the glitz and glamour are no insurance against human factors.

The artistic field is exhilarating, it is where dreams come true and stars are born. It is about the adrenaline rush, the aesthetics, the amaze of art. Tinsel town is no different; in fact, this is where so many types of talents intersect that it is a multi-faced, hydra-headed entity that owes its existence to its many moving parts.

Cinema keeps its make-up on round the clock on its 70 MM face. Like any other commercial sector, it has its ups and downs. Money woes, psychological damage, exploitation and inequalities of all kinds – the glitz and glamour are no insurance against human factors.

Filmdom gathered its own dust when we weren’t looking; not for women from good homes, younger girls playing mothers to their former heroes, actors and actresses have to sleep around for roles... The audience applauded good performances, mouthed dialogues they liked verbatim, paid good money to see the movie in a theatre – but the scenes behind the scenes were of no interest to them, not in any real way. These were rumours they enjoyed repeating, knowing full well that these rumours were part of the entertainment business.

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When life gets too much for us, cinema is the getaway vehicle. Even realistic fare, the starkest art film we see, is so much a part of make-believe that we rarely think beyond what we see, what we hear. Presentations please us and if we are accomplices to any wrongdoing we remain blissfully unaware of it.

Gender politics, a lack of pay parity, the use of personal contacts, underworld connections – we don’t want to know any of this. Not because we are insensitive people – at least we aren’t all the time – but because it interferes with the pretty picture.

And then three things happened one after another. Against the dramatic backdrop of the global #MeToo campaign, as the Harvey Weinsteins, Bill Cosbys and Kevin Spaceys walked away in a row, Bollywood too pointed fingers at people in key roles. Heads may not have rolled, but eyes did.

Then, with the kind of creepy silence more effective than loud filmi music, OTT platforms appeared before us from nowhere. We began to salivate over web series. The killer virus just sealed matters; the big screen shrank. No one knows when they will step inside a theatre again. Suddenly everyone is only talking of must-see serials, the script and brilliant acting. We began to see beyond the blow-dry.

Thirdly and most recently, an actor’s suicide brought up the much-needed debate on nepotism. Is acting hereditary? Is it in the genes or a God-given gift? Sushant Singh Rajput went away without saying pretty much anything, but left behind a cacophony on the why of his departure. It got us talking about talent, whether in star kids or just about anyone.

Hopefully, political correctness and the obsession to be seen as cool or woke will further help to level the playing field from now on. A future where Ranbir Kapoor’s grandson and John Doe audition for the same role – and the casting director goes with whoever is the better actor.

Shinie Antony is a writer and editor based in Bangalore. Her books include The Girl Who Couldn't Love, Barefoot and Pregnant, Planet Polygamous, and the anthologies Why We Don’t Talk, An Unsuitable Woman, Boo. Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Asia Prize for her story A Dog’s Death in 2003, she is the co-founder of the Bangalore Literature Festival and director of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival.
First Published on Jun 20, 2020 08:10 am
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