Sunday, January 17, 2010

Alig who first brought Indian Cinema at the World's Centre Stage

Recently Janab Razi Raziuddin Sb, moderator of The Aligarh Network( Yahoo group of AMU Alumni) posted an article on the highest grosser film of Bollywood “3 Idiots” which was released recently and commented about the augmenting popularity of this Indian film from Bollywood in the world, especially in the United States in the recent times. India is in news time and again. And this time thanks to the Bollywood industry.

However there are many interesting facts that we can ponder upon when judging the popularity of the Indian Films in general in the west. Film was a phenomenon of the west and oriental nations adopted it later with its own taste and style and that led it to emerge as the most popular mass media. However Indian Films never got that respect in the west in the way it has been always welcomed boisterously among the populace of India. Indian Films were and still are shrugged off as far away from “reality”, aesthetically of poor taste and with no such complexity in its film text and narration which is an important element of cinema. France on the other side witnessed the emergence of the French New Wave in the end of the 50's . Italian Films with its revolutionary neorealism and German films with its expressionism earned a great respect from the serious film viewers around the world.

However few films from India has always tried to stand away from the crowd and reached to the world audience with its head high and thus creating the sense of awe among them. Needless to say this has never been a regular phenomenon as in the case of France, Italy, Germany or other countries that emerged in the later decades.

The first film which got huge popularity among the people of the west was “Neecha Nagar”, made in 1946, scripted beautifully by an Alig, a great socialist writer of his time Janab Khwaja Ahmad Abbas sb.( completed his B.A in 1933 and L.L.B in 1935 from A.M.U), directed by talented film-maker Chetan Anand( Brother of Actor Dev Anand). So, all Aligs can feel proud of the fact that the first film which brought recognition to the Indian Cinema came from the pen of this great Alig K A Abbas. Today when for decades Indian Films vying to get any award or special recognition at the Cannes Film Festival (highly respected Film Festival of the world), Neecha Nagar in the first Cannes Film Festival went on to won the highest award Palme d’Or in 1946.

Though even today the film researchers and generally in the media famous Bengali film director Satyajit Ray get the credit for lifting Indian Cinema first time in the world’s centre stage with his "Apu Triology", but K A Abbas should get his due for the same. I am writing this article to popularize this ‘least known’ great information about an Alig among the fellow Aligs which I have acquired being a novice film researcher.

About the film “3 Idiots”, I must say that though this is a well made film touching the proper strings of the Indian Audience but somehow it has superficially dealt with the emotions of the 3 “Idiots” Characters ( played by Amir Khan, Madhavan, Sharman Joshi). Talented Australian director Peter Weir in his “Dead Poets Society” dealt with the same kind of issues portrayed in the film “3 Idiots”, and the complex yet poetic narration style of the film with a brilliant performance by Robin Williams earned Academy Award recognition for Best Picture Category. “3 Idiots” can never achieve any such great status in any Film Festivals of the West where it has to undergo clinical analysis of the judges.

Film matter tends to be affirmed in one or two ways: the formal-aesthetic and the socio-ideological. The first argues for, or assumes, the importance of film in terms of its intrinsic worth, whereas the latter focuses on film’s position as symptom or influence in social processes. “3 Idiots” as a film may gain popularity everywhere but it would be short-lived as its lack both the ways. I know I am brave enough to comment that.

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