Monday, September 5, 2011

Probing the image of Kannada cinema

Regional cinema in India has almost always found its own language, its own discourse and a target audience distinct from the Hindi film-watchers. In fact, its very ethos takes you closer to Bharat, something that Hindi cinema, of late, has been studiously avoiding. While Hindi film directors, when they are not fuelling NRI fantasies, are increasingly catering to urban audiences, their regional counterparts are still relatively rooted to the soil. Often drawing from the little traditions of the place and adding a dash of the legend, regional cinema has carved out a distinct image for itself, crafted as much out of political segmentation as cultural affinity.

It is not that regional cinema in India is a monolith. It has its own distinct shades and layers which lend to it certain heterogeneity. For instance, Tamil cinema has appealed to audiences beyond Tamil Nadu with cine-goers in Japan, Malaysia and Europe too craving to see the latest from Rajnikanth. On the other hand, films from States like Orissa, Assam, and even Karnataka are about their respective States and their people.

In Bipolar Identity, M.K. Raghavendra, a film critic of no mean stature, attempts to link cinema with political discourse, even myths and legends. For the most part, he succeeds. His approach is academic, his understanding worthy of somebody who is rooted to the soil. What sets him apart from the new breed of film writers is that he has stayed behind the scenes and remained honest to his craft, quietly observing the trends in cinema of India, as opposed to Indian cinema, as he notes in the introduction.

Full report here Hindu

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