projects India as a Third World ‘dirty underbelly’ developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations. It’s just that the Slumdog idea authored by an Indian and conceived and cinematically put together by a Westerner gets global recognition. The other would perhaps not.
The commercial escapist world of Indian cinema had vociferously battled for years the attention paid and the adulation given to the legendary Satyajit Ray at all the prestigious film festivals of the West, and not a word of appreciation [was given to] the entertaining mass-oriented box-office blockbusters that were being churned out from Mumbai.
The argument: Ray portrayed reality; the other: escapism, fantasy and incredulous posturing. Unimpressive for Cannes and Berlin and Venice. But look how rapidly all that is changing. Retrospectives in Paris and New York. Dedicated TV channels running Hindi cinema on prime time. Premieres at Leiscester Square, the home of all Hollywood royalty, thronged by hundreds on the street in cold, biting weather. Affable recognition at most corners of the universe…
And a dear friend from Los Angeles wires in that Hollywood is abuzz with India and the phenomenal talent that exists there. We’re talking cinema still!
(This is an edited extract from Amitabh Bachchan’s blog, http://bigb.bigadda.com )