Friday, February 18, 2011

The Purpose....

World cinema fascinates me. Being from India, I have being exposed to one of the largest film industries to exist, 'The Bombay film industry' or Bollywood, as is popularly known. Being from urban India growing up, movies from the big studios of Hollywood also made it into our homes. Two movies which I carry fondly in my heart are 'The Sound of Music' and 'E.T'. Humming the amazing soundtrack of the former and carrying that ugly, yet oddly cute alien's face and his plaintive 'E.T phone home' cry in my heart, have been highlights of my childhood movie going experience. There is also what we from India, call regional language cinema. There are more than 21 spoken languages in India spread across all the regions and most of these regions make cinema in their own languages. Hailing from the region of Bengal, I was raised on a diet of Bengali cinema. Here I struck lucky as some the makers from this particular region made movies which were truly different from the staple Hollywood or Bollywood fare. It came under the category of 'Art House cinema'. Fascinatingly different, they were not larger than life, one could relate to the characters, their stories, their world. There was not much drama, the scenes were rarely rushed, there was a chance to get into a characters skin, to see their world as our own, to almost feel their emotions. And the stories were painfully real. Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak were two directors that come to mind in this journey of self educating myself in this aspect of cinema. There have been other names from India like Guru Dutt, Shyam Benegal, Bimal Roy, Gulzar to name a few that influenced my movie watching experience.

And then I came to the United States. Here I was a child in a candy store!  Besides gaining a viewing experience of great American movies, Oscar winners or not, I gained access to cinema in other languages, great works of art all made very accessible by that lovely concept called subtitles! Over the years, I have tried to watch fascinating cinema from across the globe. Cinema which brings alive cultures, customs, traditions, social behavior from all across the world, hitherto unknown to me. But devoid of a purpose and sometimes because they are not well advertised to a global audience, unless they make the cut for an Oscar in the Foreign language category, I have not been as successful as I would like. Here is where my ramblings will gather meaning, as my blog comes to play.  I intend on informing myself and viewing as much good cinema as possible, in every genre from all regions of the world. I will watch movies from the past as well as works of contemporary film makers, give my honest opinion and hope that it will help cine lovers to have access to names of movies they might want to watch or maybe not. I shall also try to explore works of the great masters of world cinema and try to figure what made them tick, become who they are. Lofty goals, but one has to make a start.

This is an assignment to myself and I hope some of you will join the ride because lets face it, a lone journey is never much fun. Your opinions, criticisms will be of utmost value and will be respected.

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