For at least two decades, only the Bollywood industry, located in the Indian city of Bombay, has poured an average of 360 films into the market each year.
Although in Brazil there are a number of cinemas far below the average when compared to the United States, Canada, or even Mexico, the Brazilian public can feel quite satisfied when it comes to cinematic diversity. I am not referring to themes or anything related to ethnicity, but rather to the variety from the point of view of the country of origin. In Sao Paulo, for example, there are more rooms dedicated to what is conventionally called art films than those found in New York. It is true that not all works can be considered “art films”, but that is another matter. The fact is that thanks to these rooms, we have the chance to take a deep dive into the cinematography of most different countries. In addition to mere curiosity, there is a specific audience with an interest in films that present cultures and behaviors that are so different from our society.
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Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most movie theaters in Brazil remain closed. As I pointed out in a previous article in this space, the cinema room that we knew was momentarily replaced by the room in our homes. And the big white screen has been replaced by the thin screen of a television set. For some, the pleasure may be different – and even unparalleled -, but at least the diversity is guaranteed due to the extensive catalogs made available by streaming services. In this way, we have the opportunity to get to know works from countries like Iran, South Korea, Russia, Ecuador, Moldova, Cape Verde, and India, among many others.
In fact, let’s talk about India and Bollywood. In case you still don’t know, Bollywood arose from the combination of the words Bombay and Hollywood. The expression, most commonly credited to filmmaker Amit Khanna and journalist Bevinda Collaco, gained international fame in the early 1980s, when India officially surpassed the United States in the number of annual productions, becoming an industry of enormous cultural and cultural relevance. commercial. To give you an idea, in 2017, India produced around 2,000 feature films. For at least two decades, only the Bollywood industry (therefore in Bombay) dumps an average of 360 films on the market each year. And the Indian audience just loves their films. Each year, the box office records about 3.6 billion tickets sold – that’s 1 billion more tickets than the share of films produced in Hollywood, who are also adored by the Indians. It is no accident, therefore, the nickname of Bollywood. For Indian cinema, Hollywood is an inspiration and a school, both from the aesthetic as well as the marketing point of view. That is, the interest is to produce a commercial cinema.
By the way, a few days ago I watched a movie called “The Lieutenant of Cargil”, original Netflix productionheld in Bollywood. Based on facts, the film tells the inspiring story of young Gunjan Saxena, played by actress Janhvi Kapoor. Since a child in love with aviation, Gunjan, in 1999, had become the first woman to achieve the rank of lieutenant and to fly a helicopter during an intense conflict between India and Pakistan, an episode that became known as the Cargil War. It was not easy for her. As India is a country of caste, patriarchal and absolutely macho, Gunjan Saxena had to overcome several obstacles, face prejudices, in addition to nullifying ancient cultural practices. It is, therefore, a mixture of historical war film and personal drama, with all the elements of the hero’s journey.
“Lieutenant de Cargil” is a Bollywoodian work, that industry that drank and continues to drink from the source of Hollywood inspiration. And precisely because of this, we find in the work, in good measure, elements of action, adventure, suspense and humor. But the film is, first of all, Indian. And in any self-respecting production in India, melodrama, music and dance should never be lacking. Lots of dancing. Whether in the classics like “Flores de Papel” / Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) and “Madhumati” (1958), or in contemporary productions like “Lagaan”, “The Music Room” and “3 Idiots”, there will always be at least one musical sequence, singing and dancing. In all the films mentioned here, it happens very organically, and in “A Lieutenant de Cargil” is no different. There is a wedding sequence inserted in the story,
It is an infallible narrative line and aesthetic construction that guarantees success. At least for Indian cinema, of course. The musical sequences in Bollywood productions are a clear inspiration from musicals from the golden age of Hollywood, now and again revisited in modern productions like Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land”, but which still work and have their appeal. And given the success of Bollywood, it is easy to say that even overdoing the clichés and presenting an involuntary caponize, Indian cinema manages to be honest, well-made, and pure entertainment.
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