In a precise conception of reality constructs, Cinema as an art has always been perceived as the most poignant medium to instill peculiar thoughts in the human mind and shape the ideologies in its desired form. Ever since Indian cinema commenced with the surreal outputs of real life incidents that appeared for public release with the emergence of ‘ Dadasaheb Phalke’s ‘silent feature films like ‘Raja Harishchandra’, ‘Lanka Dahan’ and ‘Krishna Janma’, it has been a subject of gradual headway of diverse varieties of themes incorporated.
Observing the current scenario of the Bollywood industry, there is a sudden upsurge in thematic films that are based primarily on non fictional concepts either through portrayal of a real life case, life story of a personality or through depiction of social realities prevalent in the country. Prominently persisting in the parallel Indian cinema started by filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Bimal Roy, mainstream film industry now has a large market share of the message-driven, realistic films with minimal songs or romanticism involved. Instances can be traced with the current release of films like ‘Neerja’, ‘Mary Com’, ‘Talvar’, ‘No One Killed Jessica’, ‘Masaan’, ‘Aligarh’, ‘Airlift’, ‘Wazir’, etc. The interesting fact is that these types of movies have formed a new style of filmmaking and has added the spice of creativity and aesthetics to the recipe of cinema art. Not only do the themes of terrorism, corruption, struggle stories of unsung heroes, social evils, realistic societal trends, fascinate the filmmakers but are also now a major demand of the young and prudent cinema audience as opposed to romantic comedies engaged with illusionary love stories and happy endings. This phase can be tagged as resurgence of reality in Bollywood films.
There is always an ongoing debate with regard to significance of the mentioned themes of social realism displayed in the movies. What often becomes the cause of question is that whether realistically based Bollywood films can evince the malign pictures of the country or rather contributes in expanding awareness of the social realities in order to help eradicating them.
The latest controversy with respect to the crime thriller film ‘Udta Punjab’ has dealt with the same problem of relevance inducing debates for and against the decision of Central Board Of Film Certification(CBFC) about 89 cuts prior to its release. Though Bombay High Court verdict has finalized its release with a single cut, it has still kept such genre of movies under a big question mark for public display in the discourse of numerous discordant opinions. The perplexing problem is that the entertainment industry is imputed as a detriment to the existing positions of the power structures and greatly influences the social and economic conditions. Nobody apprehend a film as merely a film but as a strong representative imagery of the society within which it is made. There is still a myriad of questions raised after every such movie is made, that are left unanswered or consistently occur as a topic debated across plenty news channels and news media outlets.
Why do every message driven or realistic movie, generate a tumult engaging every individual and community? Why are such movies that are extremely significant at the forefront, becoming an agenda of political debates? Why can’t these movies be considered as creative art forms that can shape the societal norms positively? Everyone just ponder upon and observe on and on, with no solution to prevent such situations in future. It is necessary to understand that the film industry needs to be a holistic sphere of various relevant social issues and foster as per the developmental requirements of the country.