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It’s Different! 

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From the much appreciated PYAASA, to Kundan Shah’s JAANE BHI DO YAARON and Mira Nair’s SALAAM BOMBAY, we have had unusual cinematic masterpieces, often made with non-actors on a shoe-string budget, writes VIRAJ SAWANT.

There are films that provide ‘total time pass’. And then there are those that hit you hard with other realities and compel you to think… films which surprise you, shock you, trigger pity and sometimes even spark off change.

With names like Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Bimal Roy, Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Chetan Anand, Guru Dutt, V. Shantaram and Shyam Benegal who have given Hindi cinema a whole different dimension, it would be wrong to say that art house, parallel or independent cinema is a new trend in Bollywood. From the much appreciated PYAASA, to Kundan Shah’s JAANE BHI DO YAARON and Mira Nair’s SALAAM BOMBAY, we have had unusual cinematic masterpieces, often made with non-actors on a shoe-string budget.


Parallel cinema has been part and parcel of the Indian film industry siglam anchor 2nce decades but of late the scenario has improved considerably for our independent filmmakers. The year 2012, for instance, which saw EK THA TIGER and ROWDY RATHORE hit the screens also saw a considerable number of experimental films like GANGS OF WASSEYPUR, PAN SINGH TOMAR and SHANGHAI. Within just Rs.9.5 crore, Anurag Kashyap managed to make GANGS OF WASSEYPUR with multiple actors on real locations. Depicting the power struggles, politics and vengeance between three crime families in the badlands, this gritty film received a standing ovation at Cannes and, at the same time, earned profits in India as well.

There was a certain connect that films like SHAHID, LOVE SEX AUR DHOKHA, TITLI and MASAAN established with the audience. Though made on a budget equivalent to an A-lister’s fee, these films found their own audience. Parallel cinema renders a newer perspective to the audience with varied themes and interesting techniques. It is heartening to see that films which balance the business side as well as restore the artistic touch of the director, are being appreciated widely.

glam anchor 3Alternative cinema has not only ushered in amazing directors, but has also provided exposure to talented actors. Freshers coming in from theatres have stepped into the world of films and upped the ante, even for established actors in Bollywood. Actors like Rajkummar Rao, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Irrfan Khan and Manoj Bajpayee have been striking an interesting balance between independent cinema and mainstream films.

…And with support coming in from larger studios and mainstream artistes, neo parallel cinema is growing in popularity and profitability. The desire to experiment by veering away from the monotonous is rising. Ditching the traditional song, dance and glamour prerequisites, they prove Bollywood is not one but several streams of cinema – and there is audience enough for all to thrive.

…And with support coming in from larger studios and mainstream artistes, neo parallel cinema is growing in popularity and profitability. The desire to experiment by veering away from the monotonous is rising. Ditching the traditional song, dance and glamour prerequisites, they prove Bollywood is not one but several streams of cinema – and there is audience enough for all to thrive.