Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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INDIAN CINEMA

Cinema In General

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Pans & Tilts…Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Four Women, Piracy, Dasavatharam, Khuda Ke Liye...

This week clearly belongs to the renowned Indian auteur-director, Adoor Gopalakrishnan. His latest film, “Naalu Pennungal” (Four Women) has been short listed among 20 movies to compete for the prestigious L’Age d’Or (Golden Age) Award at the Belgian Film Archives. The movies would be archived.

“Four Women” has been chosen for this prize "in view of the authenticity, peculiarity of purpose and novelty of treatment of the work”.

The award is named after Luis Bunuel’s 1930 controversial classic, “Golden Age”. Over the years, some of the giants of cinema, including Bunuel and Ingmar Bergman, have been honoured. Adoor now joins this gallery of greats.

Making films that are intimate, personal and real, Adoor struggles and survives amid big banners. In a quite, soft-spoken way, he has made his point, yet again, to tell the world that Indian cinema is much more than just Bollywood.

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The Indian entertainment business loses billion every year to pirates. This was revealed at Frames in Mumbai that was recently organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Television loses .68 billion, while movie 9 million. Nearly 900,000 jobs are lost because of piracy in an industry that hires five million people.

Small cinemas in small towns and villages copy a film on a disk long after the shows are over for the day, some times with the connivance of theatre owners, who are out to make a fast buck.

What is the solution? I would suppose reduction of the window period between a theatrical and video release. Otherwise, audiences tend to lose interest in a movie. Also, efforts by companies like Moser Baer to introduce inexpensive film DVDs have already made a difference. Ultimately, people must say no to pirated software.


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Kamal Haasan’s “Dasavatharam” -- in three languages, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, with Asin and Mallika Sherawat, and helmed by K.S. Ravi Kumar -- will have two important cameo appearances. The present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi, and the former Chief Minister, J. Jayalalaithaa, will flit across the screen. Kamal, who will be seen in 10 avatars, may not be doing something original. Once Sivaji Ganesan played nine roles in the 1964 “Navarathri”. A decade later, the movie was remade in Hindi with Sanjeev Kumar, and titled “Naya Din, Nayi Raat”. Kamal has to come up with something unique to hold attention.

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Tailpiece: “Khuda Ke Liye” (In The Name Of God), will be the first Pakistani film to open in India, on April 4. With Islamabad now allowing Indian movies to screen, reviving in the process a dying exhibition system, a healthy two-way process looks all set to begin.

(Webposted March 28 2008)