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Monday, January 12, 2009

Pan-India Movie

Indian film industry is largely fragmented because of cultural and linguistic diversity of the country. Movies which involve people of wide ethnic and cultural diversity within India in realistic setting are rare. By realistic, I mean not caricatured, and not used for comic purposes. Movies where Begali character speak Begali and not Begalized Hindi. Despite astonishing growth of Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi and Bhojpuri film industry in last decade, there hasn’t been a truly pan-India film. I wish someday to see a true pan-India movie being made and run successfully at box-office. Countably few movies which had this theme aren’t still true to each culture. Famous movie Ek Duje Ke Liye comes close to what I desire but that is limited to two cultures only.

I can envision many problems with this project. One is the script which realistically necessitates people of wide backgrounds to come together for fruitful substantial interaction (travelling?). Another is need for various subtitled versions for movie for each geography where in Hindi-belt all non-Hindi dialogues have to be subtitled in Hindi and in Tamil-region all non-Tamil dialogues have to be subtitled in Tamil and so on. This dependence on subtitles limits reach of audience this movie can target since Indian public in not comfortable with subtitles not to mention poor literacy levels of masses. Also, are audience open minded enough to patronize such film?

Still, I think, a competent director can pull together things to give us picture what really happens when, say, an Assamese comes to New Delhi. Such movie will be a great indication of national unity too. Plus, this will also pave way for better collaboration between different regional industry and better India-wide recognition of some of the best regional actors. I don’t know when this desire will be fulfilled, or if ever, but I doubt that it will happen in this decade. Move towards cross-cultural and multi-lingual Indian movie is (non-existent) trend I will definitely want to keep an eye on.