2013 marks the 100 years of the glorious Indian cinema in Bollywood, as it’s termed. A lot has changed over these ten decades including the films and the content. We have films competing for the 100 cr mark and then the 200 crs and the race goes on. There’s a race to spend on publicity like never before, with spends sometimes exceeding the production budget itself.
The commercial value of films has taken away the real objective of films that is to educate and entertain; only the latter half remains. A very good example is the recently released, ‘The Light: Swami Vivekananda’. A biopic on the great Saint Vivekananda released as a tribute to the legend on his 150th birth anniversary and no commercial intent. The producer with limited resources has made an attempt to showcase the life of the saint who brought great laurels to the country.
The film has won many accolades including recognition from the Ram Krishna Mission which was started by none other than Swami Vivekananda. Chief Minister Narendra Modi, too, was all praises about the film and made an appeal to the youth to watch the inspiring biopic. ‘The Light: Swami Vivekananda’ has been exempted from tax in three major states- Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal. Despite this fact, a popular multiplex chain continues to charge entertainment tax on the film in Mumbai!
Even after the recognition ‘The Light: Swami Vivekananda’ has received, Bollywood’s commercial and mainstream cinema seems to have sabotaged the film. The film managed to get only a few screens at odd hours across the city; however the audiences still show enough confidence in meaningful cinema as the limited shows gather more and more interest.
Over the years, we have witnessed many small budget and interesting films getting exploited by the strange norms of Bollywood. The Indian Film Industry may have completed a century but it seems to have lost the true essence of film-making in the process, by only focusing on the business aspect of it! I think it’s time we also dedicate movies like these to the film industry. Don’t you think?