Bollywood unleashes new cinema as viewer tastes change

Jul 7, 2011 Arpana

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) Be it the rural flavour of "Ishqiya", the sexual overtones of "Love Sex Aur Dhokha" or the urban adult comedy "Delhi Belly", notice how unconventional themes are being lapped up by moviegoers?

Viewer tastes appear to be changing as new age filmmakers endeavour to stay away from the larger-than-life characters, melodrama and typical romances Bollywood has always been known for.

New entrant Imran Khan, the lead actor of adult comedy "Delhi Belly", who is flourishing under the umbrella of his talented uncle Aamir Khan, feels the new lot of filmmakers is the baton carrier and "the industry has opened up a lot more".

"Writers, producers and actors have opened so much to off-beat cinema and the audience has grown alongside," he added.

Despite being tagged as an A-movie, replete with expletives and with no-morals attached, Imran's "Delhi Belly" hit the right chord and its success has proved that moviebuffs are coming of age too.

Before the release of "Delhi Belly", producer Aamir had feared it would mar his reputation; people are lauding him instead for making a bold and unconventional film. The Rs.25 crore adult comedy has earned over Rs.26 crore in its opening weekend and is going strong.

"It's uncompromising, without any kind of morals and it doesn't preach. It speaks to you directly. It doesn't have an ideal hero figure; that's why you tend to connect with the character and that's what makes it an enjoyable watch," said Neha, 25, a psychologist.

Anurag Kashyap had used the same recipe when he presented the modern version of "Devdas" to suit the sense and sensibility of youngsters in "Dev D" where Abhay Doel was presented as an arrogant, ill-mannered and lusty lover and Mahie Gill as a girl who doesn't mind breaking into a jig at her own wedding. The movie surprised the trade pundits by becoming one of the top grossers of 2009.

Dibakar Banerjee took the boldness several steps furter with his unusually titled provocative movie "Love Sex Aur Dhokha" (LSD), about love, sex and betrayal, a compelling portrayal of the young generation in Indian towns.

"One couldn't have thought of getting a film like 'LSD', but today it is a bona fide hit. That clearly shows that our audience has grown with us and because of the intellectual growth of the audience, filmmakers too are getting different stories," Imran told IANS.

Eyebrows were raised, but the gatekeepers and moral guardians couldn't do much because these movies were released with an A certificate.

Viewers were taken from one extreme to another with box office successes like "Peepli Live" and "Ishqiya". Though both had a rural backdrop, thematically they were as different as chalk and cheese.

If Anusha Rizvi exposed the shallowness of the media and politicians in her directorial debut "Peepli Live", first-time director Abhishek Chaubey's "Ishqiya" was about a conniving, scheming woman who oozes sensuality and her relationship with two men. Surprisingly, the audiences were so flexible that they went ahead and enjoyed both.

"Times have changed for sure because earlier a lot of films were only adaptations of Hollywood films, but with films like '3 Idiots', people have started scratching their heads to come up with out-of-the box ideas. Those who survived on remaking Hollywood films are now looked down upon," said Tigmanshu Dhulia.

A KPMG-FICCI report of 2011 too mentioned the changing trend, saying last year saw the release of several small and medium budget films. Some players introduced movies with unique storylines that did well at the box office.

The report also said audience tastes were becoming more pronounced and there were more clear segments emerging within the population.

"Bold cinema is always exciting and has had its audience. People get attracted to flesh. We are in the best time that Hindi film industry has ever had; there has been nothing like this in the past. It is growing by leaps and bounds," said Imran.

"In the last couple of years, we have set a new record for the box-office, collected more money than anybody could have ever thought an Indian film could. Our market is growing; our cash turnover is growing. It is exploding."

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