Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Much ado about nothing...

In my many discussions with friends and relatives, the often recurring theme is the inevitable rot in telugu cinema.  I raise the point that the telugu film industry, of which I have very little regard, is a self-serving enterprise for a very few families that unleash tasteless movies on unsuspecting masses.  There seems to be some hope, very little albeit, but by and large the observation that we watch junk is true.

There are few rational reasons for why a few families control the business in telugu while that is not the case in Hindi or in fact, Tamil.  Hindi is following the hollywood model and we are seeing more organized capital entering the business and leading actors forming their own private companies to produce films.  In telugu, on the other hands, money is still opaque and I in fact believe much of the capital is still "black" money.

Next, almost all new "male" leading actors are either sons/nephews of yesteryear male leading actors.  We are now in the third generation and it does not seem to cease.  Maybe, cinema is like politics and the servile masses have nothing but admiration for the amazing world of DNA transfer.  Lineages seem to matter and although there is little evidence that acting does indeed carry forward  - we seem to believe so. The other explanation is that I am too naive to believe that it can be called acting.  Alternative arguments could be that economics are at play and established yesteryear actors have fan bases that dote on their kin.  Anyways, whatever the reasons might be, I think the whole thing unleashes a stream of talentless progeny on the unsuspecting masses. Finally, this fascination apparently extends only to sons and not to daughters; which leads into my second point.

The second, and more intriguing notion is the seemingly endless fascination for non-telugu women who are cast as leading actresses.  For many years now, telugu cinema has almost ignored telugu women and mostly sought north indian women to play the love interest of the leading actor.  She is often reduced to a pretty girl who looks up to the male to rescue her, thereby satisfying the vicarious pleasure of the movie-goer in imagining themselves to be the knight in shining armor.  Very rarely do the women characters have any depth or richness. I have had many hilarious moments while watching new films when it is clear the actress had no clue what was going on in the film as evident from her facial expressions and the context of the scene that she is in.  Or. maybe again, I am thinking too much about context and the ability of the moviemaker to focus on such nuances.  Either way, the leading lady in telugu cinema is a prop and that is a sham and a disgrace to us all.

Third, the audience and the moviemakers also seem to have a fascination for villains who are non-telugu speaking! I do not have a rational explanation for this because I am too tried to spend more brain cells trying to analyze telugu cinema.

I was a movie-buff, and I still am. It makes me sad that cinema in my language, telugu, is in such a dismal state.