Journal of Indian Cinema

Vol. 1. Iss. 4 | July – August 2019

Film Critics Circle of India
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The untold story

RK Bidur Singh| August 25

In 1991, ISHANOU, a Manipuri feature film directed by Aribam Syam Sharma, was screened in Cannes in its “Uncertain Regard Section”… Yves Thoraval, a French writer, in his book the CINEMA OF INDIA (1826- 2000), has this to say – illuminating Manipur… “its musical and dance traditions, mostly of a religious character, figure among the most beautiful and the most personalized aspects of India.”


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The Indian newsroom: How the idiot box changed the silver screen

Ratnottama Sengupta | August 16

Colour television took films into our bedrooms, and that adversely affected not only the economy of cinema but also its content. By all accounts it had to become bigger and glossier… Batla House, Article 15, even No One Killed Jessica, the mowing down of pavement dwellers by a limousinethese are the brick and mortar of Tinseltown today, not boy-meets-girl or dancing-around-trees.  Any doubt that the success of television in grabbing eyeballs gave these directors the idea?


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Remembering a forgotten director star — Miklós Janscó

Gautam Kaul | July 31

There are film directors who create film stars and then there are film directors who become stars themselves.

Since cinema started as a means of business, stars and star film directors have both co existed. A star could not survive without a good film director but a star film director could thrive without stars. Each national language cinema has had its fair share of both stars and star film directors. In India, individuals in both categories have lived and thrived by the dozens; while in countries with smaller film audiences, star directors have been few. Miklós Janscó was one such rare star among directors…

… The introduction of Hungarian cinema in India started with the screening of Janscó’s The Round-Up...

… Janscó is best remembered for a unique signature in film narrative that was marked by the sparing use of words in dialogues interspersed by long scene takes. In Red Psalms, this style took an extreme position when scenes were allowed to linger on for 9 minutes and more without a single cut. Film critics found in such depiction, symbolism that perhaps even the film director never thought of. But he accepted these interpretations since they created for him a distinct image that added to his cinematic aura in the international film circles.


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Patriotism in the cinema of Hindi

Saurabh Turakhia | August 15

Being an effective mass medium, cinema h­­as for long been manipulated for the celebration of national pride and for the recognition of they who demonstrate the highest form of sacrifice and valour… What is of significance is that unlike in the past, when patriotic Hindi movies were scarce even if successful, since the last half decade or so it has actually become a visible trend…  Today, the drama is controlled, and the perspectives are varied… The canvas has widened and the treatment and tone are varied, relative of the filmmaker’s sensibilities… The template is just not the same anymore.


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Dialogues tell a story

Saurabh Turakhia | July 31

Cinema has come a long way from a time when long dialogues struck gold at the box-office and cemented a struggling protagonist’s position as a dependable hero to a time when it is cool to be conversational. Alongside, the big screen has ceded much of its audience to the small screen. Clearly, it is not merely a change in the format, but in the preferences as well…

… Amitabh Bachchan’s iconic scene at the temple in the Deewar climax is etched in public memory. What made it so? It lent depth, and established layers for the flawed but loved protagonist. It gave space to his angst and emotions, and, to an extent, it justified his questionable and conventional choices…

… What is it about dialogues that endear themselves to audiences? Is it mere wordplay? Are dialogues like closed curtains, using which we can get to know a personality better? Do dialogues have to be merely instructional or can they stand out as life mantras? The popularity of dialogues reflects the power of words in creating an impact on minds and hearts. What songs and dance are for expressions, dialogues are for the story. The inherent risk in keeping cinema stark real is that it can appear to be an isolated episode and not an integrated construct. Dialogues also reflect the fact that the character has a very good understanding of their life or their situations or their principles.