Nov 20 2010

Comments on Indian cinema

Published by at 1:44 am under Uncategorized

When I was reading A Brief History Of Bollywood “Film Songs” by Nasreen Munni Kabir, I was thinking whether I had watched any Indian movie before. And at that time, Slumdog Millionaire and The Darjeeling Limited (I personally love Adrian Brody!!!) came up in my mind because these are the only movies that I have watched and could be related to India.

*** Slumdog Millionaire (2008) is directed by Danny Boyie and Loveleen Tandan.

***The Darjeeling Limited (2007) is directed by Wes Anderson.

Honestly, I had a discussion with my classmate and we expressed our thoughts about how one should define film in term of its nationality.

1. Can we say Slumdog Millionaire is an Indian film based on Loveleen Tandan is an Indian (while Danny Boyie is not)?

2. Or should we define a film in term of its nationality by where the shooting takes place? (But I think this is less important.)

3. Should we think about where the financial support for the film comes from?

4. Should we think what the style of the film is? ( “Bollywood Style”? “Hollywood style”?)


Slumdog Millionaire takes place in India and it has dance and songs in the film; it also used Bollywood dancers. In A Brief History Of Bollywood “Film Songs” ,“ [Indian romantic movie] often follows a set pattern in which young lovers cannot be united until they overcome various obstacles” (41). I think this is one of the styles of Indian cinema. I don’t know if there is such thing as “happy ending” in Indian cinema but I think a “Hollywood style” film would definitely have a happy ending and no matter what happen, the bad guys would be punished eventually in the end of the film. In Slumdog Millionaire , Jamal and Latika are lovers and they are eventually united after they have escaped from gangsters and Jamal’s brother, who is one of the gangsters, is dead at the end of the film. I really find difficulty in defining whether Slumdog Millionaire is a Hollywood film or Bollywood film.

I am really surprised that playback singers are popular and respected in India because I think the situations in the United States or Hong Kong or any other places are different. Playback singers in those places would be unknown.

Based on the clips that showed in the class, for me, I don’t really like Indian music style and I totally don’t get it despite the fact that I don’t know Indian… Its rhythm is very different from American pop songs’ and its tempo is very fast. Certainly, the dance in the clip is good and successfully draws people attention but at the same time, I wonder what the style of Indian cinema could be if we ignore those dance and songs. I also want to talk about the other clip in which people singing in the field, I think we have something similar in Chinese cinema:

People in the film sing their thoughts and love out to each other.

The film we watched in the class is so boring…(Sorry but it‘s true for me.) I almost fell alseeeep! And I don’t even know the name of it. Although I like the documentary-like style of it but it is toooooo long!!! I thought it would be ended finally after the good news have some from the father but it wasn’t! I think it’s great to show Durga’s mother tries to do everything to avoid Durga catching another cold, but I think the scene overemphasizing too many details and thus makes the scene too long and also the tempo of it too slow. I feel lost when the daughter is dead because the way it shows her death is implicit.

I think the best scene of the film would be the mother biting the fabric because I think Indian traditional women are just like Chinese traditional women in a way that their emotions cannot be so obvious in old days and at the same time, I think the sadness of losing the one you love is something cannot be verbalized and thus through biting the fabric, the mother expresses her sadness of losing her daughter.

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3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Comments on Indian cinema”

  1.   anroyon 21 Nov 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I would say that the films are shown in the class were only 1930 to 1970. Indian cinema obviously has moved forward though it kept some of its original characteristics (like singing and dancing) To answer the question how to judge a film Indian or not. I would say that it doenst matter who made the film or where the film is shot. As long as it is trues to Inidan life ,it okay. Because as an Indian , it is sometimes hard for me to analyze Indian films from a different perspective. So, if a directeor or producer, observe Indian culture in a different way and portrays them on the screen, I think it is fine. That kind of film practice ,at least help me to realize what others like to see us / or think of us on the big screen.

  2.   Sinyee Cindy Leungon 21 Nov 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks for your comment! I definitely agree with you! I would probably say something similar if the movie shown in class was a Chinese movie.
    But what I am trying to say is, when people say this movie is an American movie and that movie is a Chinese movie, what do they depend on to judge whether a film is whatever-country’s production? For example, what do they depend on to judge Spider Man is an American movie instead of other country’s movie? Is it because the financial support is from American and the studio is American-owned, so people think Spider Man is an American movie?

  3.   maya1on 22 Nov 2010 at 3:25 pm

    i have to agree with you cindy that the film we watched in class was boring. i lost focus many times throughout and it was so long. i also agree with what you said about when durga died. nobody in the film actually said the words “she died” so i was also confused about if she did or didnt. i eventually figured it out but it took me a good while before i pieced it together

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