Thursday, December 30, 2010


2010 was a watershed year in Indian cinema, which saw, notably: the rise of the Hindi Indie; a profusion of new directors, screenwriters and actors with fresh eyes and attitudes; awards and raves from the world cinema circuit; and massive international dealmaking.

Here are the first roundups I've seen:

This is the Way it Ends from the Indian Express.

365 Days to the Arc Lights, from Outlook.

2010: Year of the Smart Film, via the Times of India.

Look ahead at 2011 releases and it's clear that this will be the Year of the Woman in Indian film. In the last decade, and especially the last few years, Women have made a splash in every capacity, producing (Ekta Kapoor, Savita Raj Hiremath, Kiran Rao, Sonam Kapoor), writing and directing (Aparna Sen, Zoya Akhtar, Farah Khan, Kirin Rao, Reema Kagti, Rhea Kapoor, Anushka Rizvi, Kalki Koechlin, Alankrita Srivastava, etc.). Meanwhile, actresses demanded and found more complex roles (Konkona Sensharma, Vidya Balan, Kareena Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Gul Panag, Kangna Ranaut, Katrina Kaif--and the greatly underrated Sandhya Mridul). Some (but not all) of these people do films dealing with women's issues, but most do it in a way that is inclusive, and not parochial.

Future Gazing
--2010 was a great year for interesting women's roles and more on the boards for 2011.

Power-Packed 2011 --look at all the women directors with movies out this year, including the fabulous Hema Malini, who knows a thing or two about groundbreaking women's roles.

The Thriving 30s--2011 looks like a powerhouse year for Kareena Kapoor who has five big releases including Excel Entertainment's untitled thriller.

NDTV's Anupama Chopra wants Original Scripts in 2011.

What will be the next great masala film? Bollywood legendarily serves many masters, from the villager to the urban professional, and the masala formula evolved to please as many as possible. This dates back to the days of the humongous cinema halls when the audience was likely to comprise a vast cross-section of Indian society. These days, with the multiplexes, there are more venues for parallel films and Hindies. Masala still sells, but its audience is increasingly demanding and what worked even two or three years ago falls flat at the box office now.

The best masala of 2010 stayed true to the important--and beloved--conventions but fired them up with original scripts, characters (Dabangg), special effects (Endhiran) and relevant social topics (Three Idiots).

Elsewhere, Dawn looks ahead at the Pakistan Film Industry in 2011--Part One and Part Two. (I have a feeling we'll see a lot more cross-border collaboration between Indian and Pakistani artists in 2011, barring interference by Hindu and Islamist militants, but maybe that's wishful thinking.)

Happy New Year.

Updated January 24, 2011