Anurag Basu credits the lockdown, pandemic for making Indian audiences “cinema literate”
The digital has taken over our lives as well as the entertainment world in a big way in the last couple of years, which Anurag Basu finds welcoming. After all, the filmmaker says that it took a pandemic and lockdown situation to make Indian audiences more aware about cinema in the truest sense.
“It is a blessing in disguise is how I look at it. In these two years, the audience in India has become cinema literate which would have taken ten years otherwise. They are exposed to all kinds of films, people are watching regional films. The Hindi film audience is watching Malayalam or Bengali films. Indian cinema as a whole is coming to the fore,” notes Basu.
The 51-year-old recalls how a few decades ago the audiences used to watch all kinds of films, back then because of lack of options.
“Pehle aisa hota tha hum sab Doordarshan pe dekhte the all kind of films in all language out of compulsion,” he adds.
And that change in the audience has also brought about a change in how filmmakers are approaching towards projects.
Basu, whose last film Ludo (2020) released digitally, admits that he is also finding writing his upcoming projects a more freeing process than before because of this overhaul.
“Now that I am writing stories and scripts post Ludo, I am feeling more free. Ab kuch bhi likh sakte hai because the audience is ready. This feeling and this power was not there before. That is what I feel as a writer,”
The filmmaker also feels more than the box office, it was the stress of budget that would limit most creative people.
“It was always the budget issue. If you are making a small budget film then you can do anything but if you are making a big budget film then there is a problem. You start questioning ki yeh chalega ki nahi chalega,” explains.
With the audience now exposed to great content from all over, it is also surely going to make filmmakers rethink the choice of projects.
“As filmmaker it is our duty to try and do something new every time, which was not happening because of financial aspects. Everyone had a story but they were not able to make it the way they wanted. Now I think the freedom is there and we are able to tell stories we want to. Even theatre movies will also change because of OTT,” he concludes.