By Pooja Mahesh:
Movies that ultimately win awards are altogether ignored most of the times. They are overtaken by the vast commercial successes of mainstream cinema which have successful actors like Brad Pitt as far as Hollywood is concerned and Shah Rukh Khan, closer home.
Mainstream cinema may have the successes of popular actors to piggy-back on to ensure that their movie achieves the commercial hit they desire. But what do off-beat movies have? Or those movies which lack the superstars of our era? There are so many award-winning movies, which are sidelined because they portray something that many movie-goers do not want to see: the truth which is put out realistically and as the truth does not appeal to the senses, it is branded boring and probably un-cinematic.
There are commercially successful movies which depict the truth and have done remarkably well. Erin Brockovich and Lagaan are fine examples. The truth is very hard-hitting and can be said to have brought about a change in the perception of the people as far as award-winning movies are concerned. One cannot say that they hate movies that get awards if they have watched films like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or even the recently released Avatar. These two were commercial successes and a hit with the critics and at the award ceremonies.
Award-winning movies should not be completely ignored or be rejoiced all of a sudden, there should be a comfortable, non-rocky system of support and genuine interest. It should not just be a film student’s ‘must watch’ or a critic’s film: it should be for everyone that is the general audience. We may all appreciate Dev D as a new-age interpretation of the classic romantic novel, Devdas, but how much did we know about it initially? How much do we know of Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday for that matter?
Off-beat award winning cinema forces us to reconsider as to what is more important: the reality or the fantastical world that we often escape into when we watch normal cinema. Such are usually released during film festivals such as the one at Cannes. A recent example would include Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseyapur Part I & II premiering at the Cannes Film Festival or Katherine Bigelow’s Oscar winning The Hurt Locker at the Toronto Film Festival, back in 2008.
At the peak of the successes of commercial mainstream cinema, those movies which are award-winning often have universal themes which confront many of us in our daily lives. Although some of them add all the necessary ‘masala’ to make sure it becomes a box-office hit, it is sometimes those with the most simplistic appeal that are truly inspirational. Barfi, Million Dollar Baby or say Titanic are the examples that come into my mind. By making the movie as simple as possible for our understanding, the movie comes across as realistic. Usage of amazing detail and cinematic techniques, like the lower angle cuts used in Citizen Kane are an added advantage. Such is the power of cinema.