The Advent of Indie in India

The Lunchbox,Ship of Theseus,BA Pass,Udaan,Shahid

With the screening of an Indian film at the Cannes Film festival and then it going on to receive 2 major awards- FIPRESCI, International Jury of Film Critics Prize and Promising Future Prize in the Uncertain regard section, we are one proud nation.

This film- Masaan, directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, starring acclaimed actors such as Richa Chadda and Sanjay Mishra has not only brought us fame in the international arena but has also encouraged many more budding Indian film makers to pursue their passion.

Such films are not a very recent phenomenon in India but up until a couple of years ago, didn’t really get much recognition. “An Indie film can be referred to as any movie made with an individualistic spirit, not necessarily to cater to the masses.”

It is hard for such films to make an impact on the diverse Indian audience for various reasons.
Firstly, these films don’t have a famous star cast whom the masses identify with. Secondly, these movies are made on a tight budget and hence don’t have any fancy locations or designer clothes. The approach of these movies is such that they don’t contain any song and dance numbers. Thirdly, these films hardly find promoters and marketing owing to such restrictive budgets and hence the audience many a times isn’t even aware of the release of such movies. Fourthly, tickets for these movies are the same price as that of big productions starring superstars and so the audiences rarely want to invest their money in something they might be trying for the first time.

Apart from these, it is very important that bigger production houses help out such movies and promote new talent. Producers must come up for the love of cinema and not just think as mere businessmen. Recent examples being Udaan(2010) and Shahid(2013) which were both independent ventures but were picked up for distribution by mainstream companies.

Udaan, one of the initial Indie films to have received the kind of appreciation that it did, did not achieve decent numbers at the time of its release but is now regarded as path breaking cinema and a cult film by many directors.

2012-13 saw a boom in such movies, Ritesh Batra’s ‘The Lunchbox’, Anand Gandhi’sShip of Theseus’ and Ajay Bahl’s ‘BA Pass’ are all Indie movies that not just received great critical acclaim but also managed to get decent collections at the box office. Another Such movie, ‘The Good Road’ was chosen as India’s official entry to the Oscars.

Ashin Ahluwalia’s ‘Miss Lovely’ was the official selection at The Cannes Film Festival. When such movies get exposure at International film festivals they are even sometimes picked up by International distributors.

Though the net collections and returns of these movies are nowhere near the mainstream Bollywood entertainers, the recognition they receive, has definitely increased. The next generation is definitely bolder and experimental with their cinema choices and hence there is hope for indie culture in India. These films represent a new age cinema that reflects India in a new light.

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