A Blog on Cinema

Adoor, Awards and Bollywood


Recently in an interview published in PassionForCinema, Adoor had talked about Bollywood’s misplaced aspirations.

Q: Films like “:Lage Raho Munnabhai” or “Rang De Basanti” are touted in the media as cinematic revolutions. All the time very mediocre work is done in commercial cinema, and even slight variations are billed as revolutions. How do you see this trend?

A: I have not seen these films, but it is a good thing if media embraces something different. See, the Bombay industry never has had this ambition about going abroad or doing different things. They are very happy with their business, with the NRIs watching their films and giving them money from everywhere. Now they have the ambition, but they don’t have the equipment. They try to promote rubbish at international level. You take all the Bombay films to a place like Brussels and from there you have international awards for the Bombay films – that’s a very stupid notion. You congratulate yourself for producing rubbish, and you do it 20 times every year. It is self congratulatory and it is a very pathetic situation. People laugh at you and ridicule you because of that.

More than 2 years back we had written on this topic.

For a while now there has been consistent and concerted push towards projecting Hindi movies as Indian movies, be it in Cannes, or for Oscars or National awards. More and more Hindi movies are trying to identify themselves closer to Hollywood rather than to India while they are just starting to get rid of stories where twin brothers get lost in childhood and meet after 20 years. Even though there are talented actors, directors and technicians in South India, Hindi cinema has always muscled them out, probably due to inferiority complex.

If the IIFA awards are to come anywhere near the league of other International festivals like Cannes/Berlin, the organizers have to take off their bias towards Hindi films and give equal footage to regional language films as well. That might mean less Hindi movies might get selected and the Karan Johar genre might not be showcased, but that is the way to make this festival truly Indian. [Hindi Films = Indian Films?]

And here’s veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee talking about Bollywood’s hegemonism in the National awards:

Awards don’t mean anything to me. They never did. Especially at this point in my life. I am completely disillusioned.I haven’t forgotten that once Jennifer Kapoor in Aparna (Sen)’s 36 Chowringhee Lane lost the National Award to Rekha  (Umrao Jaan ) despite having put in a much better performance than the Bollywood star.

A National Award calls for a lot of lobbyism; it is not an honest appreciation of someone’s skill. [A National award calls for lot of lobbyism]


  1. mainstream Hindi films are crap.
    They are ages behind, and are just made to make $$$.

    Yea, they do sometimes premier at some festivals, but who notices these films at the international level except a bunch of NRIs.

    and the worst part is people in foreign countries assume bollywood means the entire Indian film industry. But then again how different are other mainstream films from India.

    S. Korea is a good example of an Asian country that as increased its reputation in cinema in making some mind blowing stuff the past ten years.
    Both art-house and commercial cinema. Clearly, they make some awesome stuff there.
    “Oldboy” by Park Chan-wook won the second main award at Cannes. you can consider that film as the one that sky rocked S. Korean Cinema to international fame.
    I mean they have a market for those films in a global stage.
    Even Bollywood remade that film and got into a law suit.
    Other awesome filmmakers include Bong Joon-ho,
    Kim Ji-woon , Kim Ki-duk, Lee Chang-dong, Kang Je-gyu, etc.

  2. Japanese Cinema entered the international stage with the success of Kurosawa and Mizoguchi’s film in the early 50s.
    Hong Kong cinema had their breakthrough with commercial action films in the 70s.
    [Mainland] Chinese cinema had theirs with Zhang Yimou’s art-house films from the late 80s/early 90s.
    Taiwanese cinema had theirs with Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Edward Yang, Tsai Ming-liang’s films in the 80s/90s.
    Even Thai cinema had theirs recently with Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Nonzee Nimibutr, and Wisit Sasanatieng etc.

    When is India’s turn?
    India had Satyajit Ray (Ritwik Ghatak has recently risen in popualarity in the West) , but no other filmmaker has come to make an impact as he did and to continue it into the future.

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