Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Enter Vanilla

For a long time the only kind of cinema we in India produced was the independent kind. Generally these films were poor on quality and content and their (mostly) smalltime producers were a much maligned bunch. Notorious for being bad pay masters and their “sab chalta hai” attitude they probably deserved all the scorn they got. Now with the corporates coming in that has begun to change. Cheques by the buckets are being pumped into the business. Initially a lot of these faceless outfits, they are bursting at the seams with shirt and tie wearing MBA’s, found it tough going. But now the tide is turning. They have invested in buying upstream and downstream business making it impossible for the filmies to side step and avoid them.
All of this, it is being argued, is good for the business. I am not sure that is entirely true. The biggest loser is PASSION. Films are as much about passion as they are about business. For all his faults the small indie producer could not be faulted for lack of passion. He would put his own money, often by mortgaging his entire life, into the films he produced. Passion was a big reason why he was a part of this business. Unfortunately the corporates only have a passion for the balance sheet. While I will agree that in general terms there will be better films- with more money comes better equipment, better techniques and resources that will lift the finish levels of most films. But with it also comes the vanilla effect. Most films from the corporates already look and feel the same. Recent offerings from Yashraj are a case in point. Up ahead I see this vanilla effect effecting films for a long time. We will be lucky if we get more than a couple of really good films a year. If you like quirky films with great stories- you are probably not going to find them.

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