The coming of new age cinema has been announced so often that even a random mention prompts involuntary giggles. There’s no doubting, though, that the Hindi film industry has become more slick in its storytelling and films like Satyagraha – Democracy Under Fire and Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola will provide much to look forward to in 2013.
The gripe about having to retell tired tales in new and exhaustingly interesting ways could be voiced less and less as filmmakers become more willing to go beyond the formula, to seek out original storylines and take on subjects long neglected by mainstream filmdom.
This willingness has resulted in such gems as the two-part Gangs of Wasseypur (GOW), the Paan Singh Tomar biopic, and for all the taunts of plagiarism, Barfi too. If Paan Singh Tomar has made way for 2013’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, GOW revealed to audiences, the deep satisfaction that comes from returning to stories.
Hollywood has revelled in this device and franchises like Star Wars have become an enduring part of popular culture across generations. The Hindi film industry looks set to catch up.
Krrish 3, Dhoom 3, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai 2 and Race 2 will all be released this year — a sure sign that more filmmakers of every sort, from the school of Karan Johar mush to the grittier worlds of Dhulia and Banerjee and all the others in between, could work with film series. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as meeting a favourite character again and again and understanding how he and you too have grown during the break you’ve had from each other!
Lately, Bollywood has also been turning to Indian English writing for its stories. A few of Chetan Bhagat’s books, including The Three Mistakes of My Life, which will be released in February 2013, have found an afterlife in films as did Anusha Chauhan’s Zoya Factor, which was snapped up by Pooja Shetty. In a newish twist, other books like Amish Tripathi’s bestselling Meluha series also read like they’ve been expressly written for film. With so much material floating around, anyone complaining of the absence of good stories deserves to have the book, any book, thrown at them. Biopics, big screen series, new and interesting stories from fiction... Perhaps a new age really has dawned on Hindi cinema.