Bollywood’s new era

Slicker production values, better training and racier plots are all helping the Indian film industry reinvent itself. Can Bollywood take on Hollywood?

Colours, melodrama and dancing are still very much part of Bollywood, but there’s a parallel new era in terms of production emerging in India.

Colours, melodrama and dancing are still very much part of Bollywood, but there’s a parallel new era in terms of production emerging in India.

“I just want to kiss you.” Those words and split-second lip-locking between two young college students created waves in India earlier this year when the trailer for ‘2 States’ was released. Raunchier scenes, including sensual undressing and a kiss under flowing water, followed as the story of two live-in lovers slowly unfolded.

Essentially, ‘2 States’, released on April 18, is a romantic story intertwined with song, dance and colour. But that’s where the Bollywood likeness ends.

The Abhishek Verman-directed movie is one of the most intimate ever produced in India. It boldly explores the relationship of young lovers who live together - still taboo for much of India - and who try to convince their families to allow them to marry despite vast caste differences.

It is as true a representation of India today as any film has delivered, with the new generation breaking down centuries-old traditions.

Bollywood has been slow to follow this generational shift - until now.

“The younger generation of filmmakers are pushing the envelope now,” Anil Kapoor, Bollywood veteran actor and now producer, tells Arabian Business during filming in Dubai for his next movie, ‘Welcome Back’.

Intimacy is not the only taboo being crushed. ‘The Lunchbox’ is the most internationally acclaimed Indian film in a long time, but there’s not a hint of Bollywood melodrama. Not one song, not one dance.

In fact the simplicity of this love story between a nearly-retired office worker widower and a neglected young housewife who are connected via a lost lunchbox – the film also depicts Mumbai’s famous dabbawalas, or lunchbox deliverymen – is exactly what the world has loved. It took the 2013 Cannes Film Festival by storm and was lauded by many as an Oscar contender.

Love stories are synonymous with Bollywood, but this unconventional film is one of the first in India where two people falling in love never meet. It is intriguingly unpredictable.

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Posted by: Ashok Sridharan

Mukta Arts the first ever Indian film company to be listed in the stock exchange? Get your facts right folks- the pride of place goes to Bombay Talkies, which was registered in the BSE way back in 1934.

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