INDIA: Varanasi, Kolkata, Mumbai: How Hindi cinema transported us across India in 2015

January 23, 2016

by PRADEEP MENON, Firstpost

How we seek out the unfamiliar, how we yearn for a new place to wake up to every morning. If there’s one thing that cinema has the power to do, it is to transport us to a time and space that we may not have visited or intended to visit ourselves.

That, concurrently, also happened to be one of the biggest areas where Hindi cinema sorely lacked – the quality of being rooted in a milieu; of offering a flavour of a specific place; of texturing the fabric of a world we haven’t seen before. What we got, instead, were generic worlds, generic characters, usually with a touch of Bambai, because most people making films knew or understood only that.

Even when films did have a reference to a specific setting, the places were usually captured with the eye of a tourist, rather than the eye of a denizen. With the passage of time, though, came the influx of fresh voices, from all across the country; voices that infused our cinema with what we so desperately needed – real slices of life, based on places they’ve seen and known intimately.

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