Hindi Film 101: High Concept, Low Concept, Genres, Male Versus Female Criticism, and Western Versus Indian Film

Thank you Reflects on Life and MKP and Popka Superstar for encouraging me to write this post! It’s probably not exactly what you pictured (nothing ever is, life is a series of disappointments), but at least it’s kind of getting at it.

(I’m gonna start small, with one tiny bit of film criticism, and then expand that. The biggest points are bolded for you.)

“High Concept” and “Low Concept” are two terms that people tend to hear in context and start using without fully understanding what they mean. The first thing to understand is that every product has a “concept”. Some of them are High, some of them are Low, but the majority are just “regular”. “High Concept” and “Low Concept” aren’t universally useful tools of criticism because for a lot of products they simply do not apply.

If you are writing a story and you come up with characters, and how they know each other, and where the story is set, and the initial complication of the story, that is your “Concept”. And then the story builds from there, that is the engine that starts it going and it chugs along by itself after that. Sholay, the “two thieves arrive in a village” movie, that is a “concept” movie, just a regular one. There is an initial setting and complication that puts things in motion, it’s more than just characters hanging out, but that is only the beginning for the film. Think of the “concept” as your elevator speech description of the film. Or what is shown in most trailers. Or what a good reviewer will use in their review without spoiling the rest of the film.

“Concept”-Hrithik trained Tiger, and now Tiger has to hunt him down

What is “low concept”? Low concept is when the initial complication is very slight, and there is nothing particular striking or simple to explain about the characters or the setting. “Low concept” is a challenge, is unusual. If done well, you end up with a movie where plenty of things happen, but they happen so slowly and naturally that it is hard to describe the plot. Arth is low concept. Jab Harry Met Sejal is extremely low concept, which is part of what frustrated people about it, because it’s not about ANYTHING. It just is.

Now, what is “high concept”? High concept is when the initial idea for the film is the most unusual thing about it, not just the starting point but the whole point. Eega, that was very much a High Concept film. What’s the film about, why should you watch it, what makes it good? The hero is a fly. That’s it, that’s the whole everything about the film in one sentence. A concept can be character based as well, Ek Nai Paheli is High Concept too. No special effects, no science fiction, instead the idea of a woman falling in love with the son of the man her daughter is falling in love with. If done well, you find yourself describing the central idea of the plot and then saying “But, it’s so much better than it sounds!” If done poorly, you find yourself saying “but, it’s not as cool as it sounds.”

Most solid popular well-made films fall into the “concept” category. DDLJ, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Deewar, 3 Idiots even, they all have an initial plot idea that you can easily describe, but the film is also more than that. That’s the simplest way to write a good film, it’s reliable, you have your idea and you build. Even if an idea starts out “low” or “high” concept, there is a decent chance that in the process of creation it ends up averaging back to just “regular”. DDLJ for instance, the original idea was to cast Tom Cruise as the lead, make it a total crossover film. That would have been High Concept, having a Hollywood big name actor opposite an Indian actress in a Hindi movie would be the biggest part of the film. That idea never made it off the drawing board, it was just a jumping off point to writing the actual script which softened the concept and lead to a more character based film. On the other hand, we have Kuch Kuch Hota Hai versus Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Karan talks in interviews about how his father advised him on how to build a movie and he has been moving further and further away from that in every film. Compare KKHH with ADHM, and you can see how Karan is progressing ever further towards Low Concept as time goes on. But in his first films, his initial desire for a loose structure was brushed away and the sell-able “hooks” added on to the story.

“Low concept”-there are three friends…..and stuff happens

The internal pressure of the creative process tends to wipe away all high and low concepts (just too hard to write well), but external pressure also plays a role. Audiences don’t like high or low concept products, they are hard to sell. High concept is new and weird and scary. Low concept is confusing and hard to grasp. Dil Chahta Hai is the great Low Concept classic of Hindi cinema. And it was a sleeper hit, and popular in urban areas and among young people, but it didn’t really blast off at the box office. You had to see the film to experience the film, there was nothing in the trailers to tell you why it was special. Lamhe is the classic High Concept flop. It was just too STRANGE. The audience couldn’t wrap their head around the idea of a man falling in love with the daughter of his lost love. If it had been watered down, changed to younger sister for instance, then they would have bought it. Of course, it would have been a far worse movie. Dil Chahta Hai too, if someone had said “can you make the heroes cops who are all involved in a shoot out and suspended and then go to Goa and fall in love?”, that wouldn’t have been as good a movie at all. Creatively, Lamhe and DCH were on point, their makes knew exactly what they wanted to do, but the audience wasn’t ready.

If we have a “concept” scale of 1 through 10, and DCH is 1 and Eega is 10, then I would say most Indian films fall around a 3 or 4. And most Hollywood films more like a 6 or 7. I still wouldn’t necessarily label them as “high” or “low” versus just “concept”, but there are leanings in one direction or the other, and Hollywood tends to lean high while India tends to lean low. In Hollywood, the films that are notable are the ones that land more at the 3 or 4 level. Think like one of the “mumblecore” comedies. The 40 Year Old Virgin has a concept, a guy is a 40 year old virgin and his friends try to help him. But it’s so much more than that, it turns into a lowkey improvised comedy between a half dozen characters who are all growing and changing as time passes. Basically any Cassavetes movie (the father, not the son) would also be “low concept”. You just throw these characters and actors together and see what happens. In India, it is the reverse. The movies that have a slightly higher concept are the notable ones, like Andhadhun.

Before moving on, there is one other thing to think about with “concept” in Indian film, and that is how the interval structure effects it. Often a film has two concepts, one for the first half and one for the second. Or the concept comes in two parts and only fully makes sense in the second half. Om Shanti Om, for instance, the first half had the concept of “behind the scenes look at the 1970s film industry”. But the second half is where we built on that to “behind the scenes look at the 1970s and 2000s industry with a reincarnation as a connecting tissue”. In Hindi film, even the initial “concept” usually doesn’t come until about 20 minutes into the film, after we have had a fun mini-intro scene while people are finding their seats and buying popcorn, and then the “concept” comes at that point. Chennai Express, for example, started with Shahrukh’s character’s backstory and introduction, and then hit the point of “southern gangster’s daughter on the run meets up with Bombay middle-aged player type” which is the “concept” for the film. Even a mid-concept film can feel “low concept” just based on the opening scenes, or even the way the concept takes a while to build.

Late concept-everything that happens before this song is just setting the stage, the real “concept” for the film comes after Shahrukh arrives on campus

Now, what I have found in watching southern films, is that the “concept” is handled very VERY differently based around the interval structure (feel free to correct me if I am wrong). In Tamil and Malayalam films especially, the “concept” of the film is often not introduced at all until the interval or close to it. We spend the first third or first half of the movie in a “low concept” world, just getting to know the characters and place. There is no single sentence description beyond “this is a village”. Any “concept” for the film comes much later. This is part of why Malayalam and Tamil films are a hard sell to outsiders, if you look at the plot description it is something like “photographer gets into fight and swears not to wear his shoes until he defeats his enemy”. And then you watch Maheshinte Prathikaaram and go through a whole tragic love story, father-son issues, village life comedy, and finally after an hour, the plot that the description promised shows up. That’s Tamil and Malayalam, in Telugu what I have gotten used to is instead there is a strong concept for the first half, and then a second almost entirely unrelated concept for the second half. Saaho for instance, the first half was cops and robbers in Bombay. The second half was gang war in the desert. Same characters and all of that, but with Saaho (as with most Telugu films) you can literally start at the interval and watch the second half as its own film. And that doesn’t matter if they are high or low or mid-concept. I would say Fidaa (for instance) is a low concept movie, and it still resets everything at the interval. Mirchi is a mid-concept movie, it also resets at the interval. That’s just how Telugu films work. None of this means you can’t compare mid-low-high concept across Indian industries, or between India and Hollywood, it just means you have to be aware of how the structure introduces the concept, and how what is “normal” varies industry to industry.

The important thing to realize when using the “high” versus “low” concept analysis is that it is not a quality judgement. Or a genre judgement. It’s merely a way of categorizing films. So, PK is a High Concept film, so is Laga Raho Munna Bhai, and 3 Idiots is more of a mid-concept film. But I would say that 3 Idiots is the best of the three of them because the other two lean more on the concept instead of working to make the rest of the film work. Dil Chahta Hai is Low Concept and so is Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu, but those are very different movies in very different genres (one is a coming of age movie, one is a family wedding movie).

Hollywood films tend to be more High Concept because of the structure (90 to 120 minutes doesn’t give you time to get much past the initial concept), and the audience (they are movie driven rather than star driven).

Indian films tend to be low concept because of the structure (160 to 180 minutes requires moving far past an initial concept), and the audience (the audience prefers familiar plots with small alterations, and is star driven).

In a Hollywood film, the high concept would be a love story between a couple that doesn’t meet and the ending would be their first meeting. In India, it became low concept with that first meeting at the halfway point and the rest of the film proceeding as a standard love triangle.

And this brings me to film criticism. Doing a fully High or Low concept film (especially a low concept in Hollywood or a high concept in India) is a challenge for the filmmaker because it is not what their collaborators are used to. And it is immediately notable for the audience, because it is not what they are used to either. The question is, is it worth it? And this is where criticism tends to fall down. And where we hit a gender gap.

Gender, as all my nice educated liberal western readers know, is a concept. “Sex” is a biological reality, but “gender” just means two different ways of looking at the world, male and female. The “male” way of looking at the world tends to look for quantifiable rules and labels. When applied to film, that means a movie should be neatly categorized as “high concept” or “low concept”, within a particular genre, often under a particular director’s style as well. Once you have everything labeled and put in tidy boxes, you can pull out similar films and neatly and objectively decide if it is “good” or “bad”. Film criticism done this way gives a big advantage to films that are unique, because there isn’t anything to compare them to. Slumdog Millionaire in the West, for instance, got much better reviews than it would have in India because there was nothing to compare it to. Film criticism done like this is not kind to films that don’t fit into any easy category, films from first time directors or films that mix genres or films that aren’t in any genre at all. On the other hand, the “female” way of looking at the world just flows along, it is based on emotions and non-quantifiable elements. Female film criticism looks at a movie and considers how it makes you feel, what message it gives, if you “like” it.

Now, both kinds of film criticism have flaws. If I am criticizing in a purely “female” way, I may get bogged down by details or emotions and forget to look at the big picture, consider multiple aspects in an objective way. If I am criticizing in a purely “male” way, I miss the little picture. In a vacuum, I have no particular preference between either style. But we don’t live in a vacuum, we live in a world where the “male” way of looking at things dominates all discussion. And in popular media, that “discussion” also controls the end result of creation.

You can see male versus female clearly in the response to Kabir Singh. From the male side of things, brilliant performances, editing, camerawork, all these quantifiable elements. From the female side, flawed characters, bad message, it didn’t “feel” good.

So, what is the end result? Specifically in terms of the recent rise of Indian film criticism? First, there is the general issue that Indian film critics seem to see their job as to tear down films instead of discuss them. Whether you use male or female arguments, insults are always welcome (see my “feminist film criticism” post and my “feminism in translation” post for more on the problems possible in the female perspective. Not that those problems are limited to feminism issues, but it is the one area where the female criticism style has power so it is seen most often there) But second, if anyone is going to risk praising a film, they will do it from the “male” perspective as the “female” perspective is no longer respected. If you say “I love Raabta because it made me happy, it made me feel things, and I related to the female character”, that is not a worthy reason to defend your liking for it. But if you say “I love Raabta because it uses innovative camera work”, that is a “male” reason and you are greeted with respect.

We see this all the time in individual new films being reviewed, but the sad thing is that it is also affecting how Indian film is viewed as a whole history and style and genre. All those “male” categories of film criticism were designed for Western films, not Indian. “Genre” and “Auteur Theory” are perhaps the most dangerous. Indian films don’t fit with the “genre” categories as designed by the west. And if there is an “auteur” in Indian film, it is as likely to be the star or producer as it is the director of the film. For example, saying “Deewar is an Action Genre film by the director Yash Chopra, and so it should be compared to Darr which is also an Action Genre film by the same director” is very bad. Deewar should be compared with other Amitabh movies, no matter the genre or the director. Or it should be compared with other Salim-Javed movies no matter the genre or the director. There’s an attempt to make film history of India fit neatly into genres, directors, and studios, just like in the West. It DOES NOT work!!!!! If you want to use “male” type thinking to address Indian film, you need to create new categories that fit Indian film.

Beyond the concepts that cannot translate, there are also the totally new concepts that are only within Indian film. It’s a valid discussion to talk about how a film is translated between industries, what changed and didn’t change in the journey north to south or south to north. That’s not really a thing that happens in other countries and requires such a specific analysis. My favorite is the way set narratives are shifted and a discussion of if it was done well or poorly or originally and what the purpose was. DDLJ versus Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani versus Jab Harry Met Sejal, all the same plot, but what changed and why? How did the films enter a conversation with each other?

How does this compare with “Raula” and with “Zara Se”? That’s a fun conversation that isn’t possible in Hollywood films exact for the rare exact remake.

What makes this really frustrating is that the work is in fact already done. The way fans and filmmakers discuss films from India follows a specific complex logical pattern that matches Indian film. Look at star eras instead of studios or directors. Forget genre, focus on style (Bahubali and Yamadonga were different genres, but both were in a fantasy/Puranic style). Invent totally new categories for films to match what is in front of you, “Parallel cinema” or “Malayalam New Generation”. But if I am a fan and I say “I like Shahrukh Khan movies”, I will now be informed that that is the “wrong” way to look at films. The same with saying “parallel” instead of “independent” or any number of other Indian specific film terminology.

And so we have reached the point where we are now. On this blog, and on the fan boards and in fan communities, people talk about movies in terms of how they feel about them, how they fit within Star’s body of work, how they play with the established narratives of film for a particular language group, and how they fit within certain style requirements. But in the “official” prestigious critical world of India, films are only addressed according to fixed Western labels and measures. If an Indian film successfully makes itself “western”, it is now good. So long as it resists the western categories and thinking, it remains “bad”.

31 thoughts on “Hindi Film 101: High Concept, Low Concept, Genres, Male Versus Female Criticism, and Western Versus Indian Film

  1. I think you can answer my question, speaking of “male” way or “female” way of thinking; one of the path-breaking directors in telugu is puri jagannadh; his claim to fame is his protagonists. They are unique, they are abrasive, daring, arrogant and putting in a “female” way slightly misogynistic. His every protagonist have similar characteristics; but unlike luv ranjan, puri movies aren’t “intentionally” misogynistic; comparing these 2 directors, whose movies do you hate less? and whats your thoughts about protagonists in movies of puri?

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    • From the side of “male” criticism, Puri is by far the better director. His visuals and grasp of genre are excellent (“genre” in the Indian sense of Telugu action hero film, a genre that does not exist outside of India). I would confidently show his films in a film class based purely on their objective quality as films. Luv Ranjan tends to be pretty simple by objective measures, straightforward camera work, and not much pushing the boundaries of the genre. If I were only looking at film from a “male” critical perspective, I would write off Luv entirely and focus on Puri.

      Their similarities are in the “female” critical lens when you start looking at message. I know most critics who look at it from a “female” lens also look at it from a “Feminist” lens. They are not the same thing of course, I can look at a film in a “female” way meaning I consider the message but focus on class issues rather than gender. Anyway, even if I look at their movies from a “Feminist” lens, I don’t have a problem. Personally, I actually really like both Puri and Luv Ranjan as directors. And I appreciate their female characters. What I like is that their characters are flawed across the board. The “heroes” are amoral and flawed, and so are their heroines. If a Luv Ranjan heroine is a golddigger and sexually loose and wild, than a Luv Ranjan hero is a fasttalking scammer and similarly sexually loose. If a Puri heroine is shallow and illogical, than so are his heroes.

      On Wed, Sep 11, 2019 at 4:34 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      Liked by 2 people

    • A simpler answer would be, all those things you are comparing in your question would be considered “female” concerns. The way a protagonist acts, and how that breaks with the normal hero type, that is a “female” question. So is the presence or absence of misogyny and the overall message of the film. A “male” critic doesn’t care about the message of the film, only the objective quality markers. If one critic complains about Puri for being misogynist and another critic defends him for groundbreaking heroes, they are both using “female” critical language. “Male” critical language would be to say “the message of the film doesn’t matter, I only care about his groundbreaking camera work”.

      Anyway, Puri is still on the schedule for a post in the next couple days as one of my “directors I like” series, so I can dig into him more there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Just to helpout for ur upcoming director blog, None of the telugu directors created more mass hysteria among male youth more than puri; even more than rajamouli. I didnt understand the phenomenon back then, but now after comparing movies of all, only puri’s heroes standout. Just see ram in puri movie vs rest, maheshbabu or even Amitabh in a puri movie, they behave differently.

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    • Thank you, this is really interesting! I just loved Puri the minute I saw his movies. Not so much Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap, that was just odd although it had moments of strange beauty. Bujjigaddu is still my favorite Telugu film, and I loved Pokiri too.

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  3. Okay so the thing is that I don’t particularly subscribe to the auteur theory because I believe film is a collaborative process but I do find some directors worth noting if they have a distinct style/aesthetic they’re trying to achieve and if they are involved with the creation of the story

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    • Oh yes, absolutely. The idea of looking at a particular director’s work as a subset of films is valuable. But deciding the quality of a film is based on how closely it fits with the rest of the director’s work is foolish to me. Foolish in the west, and extra foolish in India where the stars have such an effect on the kind of film it is. Except for a few startling exceptions, it just doesn’t work. I’m not going to say Mani Ratnam is a better director than Yash Chopra simply because his films have more in common with each other. Right?

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    • Thank you, glad you liked the post!

      I stared at the screen for 5 minutes trying to think what would be at the other end of the scale from Eega before finally remembering DCH.

      On Wed, Sep 11, 2019 at 9:21 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Thank you. Very illuminating analysis.

    On your final point of films being judged “good” if they fit western norms of film criticism, this is the big beef I have with “festival films” from India — that is, films which are critically acclaimed at prestigious international film festivals, and which I can consider “good” films, are still not ones I would recommend to any non-Indian viewer who wants to understand what Indian films are “about.” They eschew almost everything that is unique to Indian films. (The best example of this for me is “The Lunchbox” — a film developed at Sundance, technically well made, but having absolutely no “Indian soul.”) Sadly, more and more young film makers, especially in Hindi, are making their films using a western film grammar. (The most obvious impact of this mind set is in the way songs are now used, being far fewer in number, far less integrated into the story, and much more frequently simply played over montages, rather than having their own “starring” scenes, so to speak. I firmly believe that most of today’s directors simply don’t understand how to use songs “properly” in an Indian film.) This is especially the case with those who have attended various film institutes in India to get their training (as well as those trained abroad). And do you know why? If you look at the curricula at those institutes, you will find that they follow pretty much the same curricula of western film schools, and the films they study are almost all western — and here I would say, almost all American. They do not even study the differences between European, Russian, and American films.

    Now Satyajit Ray is an interesting case. You can’t say his films lack an “Indian soul.” And yet pretty much all of them found favor only outside India (specifically the West), and pretty much flopped in India. It took me a long time to realize that this is because, while his subject matter and characters were intensely Indian, his film grammar was entirely western (he trained under Jean Renoir), and thus his films were accessible to western audiences in a way that “regular” Indian films, made according to Indian film grammar, simply weren’t (even after they cut out all the songs, which I always thought was a big mistake).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Completely agree with your points about Ray! And the film he did make that had songs and was commercially successful was Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne and it wasn’t as appreciated by western critics as much as his previous works even though it’s beloved in Bengal. Also it’s not surprising that the one hindi film I tend to hear western critics speak about is Pyaasa which has a lot of Christian imagery in it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • But I love Pyaasa! I would say the thing about Pyaasa is that the technical excellence of the film is so shockingly obvious that it cuts across film prejudices and forces you to acknowledge it.

        On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 1:03 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I love it too! And I agree about the technical excellence cutting across boundaries! I just find it very interesting that there’s a lot of Christian imagery in it and that’d probably get across easier to a western audience as opposed to all the movies filled with Hindu imagery/allusions

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          • Oh that’s true too. I still haven’t gotten over a blog post I read about Bandini that discussed Nutan singing a song about Krishna after falling in love with Ashok with NO IDEA that this was supposed to be foreshadowing of the course of their relationship.

            On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 9:30 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Krishna foreshadowing? Maybe Nutan is Radha, Ashok Kumar is Krishna, and the mean wife lady who may or may not be mentally ill is Krishna’s wife Rukmini?

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          • Exactly. It’s intended to be there, obviously. I just got frustrated by a blogger who had no background in Indian culture trying to interpret that moment and missing the main point of it.

            On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 10:11 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I think you are getting close to cracking the mystery of why the film reviewers and general public of India are at odds with each other in their love for movies. It is almost always guranteed that a film loved& raved by critics will not do well in India in the long run and a film panned by the critics will do well with the multiplex and North American NRI crowd being mostly on the critics side. I maybe over simplyfying things but it all comes down to the east v/s west way of watching &making films rt?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep! I would expand it to say beyond “east/west” it is also “good/bad”. The critics praise a movie based on how well it follows Western film styles, which has nothing to do with actual quality of the film. And so you end up with boring unoriginal movies that no one would enjoy watching being praised simply because they are “Western”. And really good fun entertaining movies being dumped on because they are “Indian”. The multiplex and diaspora audience seems to generally be more influenced by critics and I suspect that means they are being influenced to ignore fun well made Indian movies and left to only consider “western” style films which they choose not to see because they look bad. Essentially, you read a good review and go “looks like a good movie, but I have no interest in watching it” or you read a bad review and go “I really wanted to see this movie, but the review says it is bad so I won’t.” Sonchariya versus Student of the Year 2 effect.

        On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 3:44 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • It wasn’t just Renoir with Ray, it was Vittorio De Sica. Watching The Bicycle Thief in London is what opened his eyes to film, his Indian movies were trying to combine the Bengali tradition with Italien Neo-realism and it was an odd mix. One thing I find interesting about Ray is how un-influential his films were to future filmmakers of India. They really are outliers, you don’t see other directors of his time or later trying to imitate his style.

      The Sky is Pink looks like another “Indian” movie that will be done in a Western style.

      On Wed, Sep 11, 2019 at 10:02 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Ray was certainly impressed with De Sica, but he actually worked under Renoir as assistant director on his film “The River” which was filmed in India. Ray has explicitly acknowledged Renoir for shaping his working style.
        Re Ray’s influence on Bengali film, at the time it was said by many Bengalis that his films were firmly in their “intellectual tradition”, and so they could appreciate him, while other Indian audiences couldn’t. I don’t know how true that may be (I don’t really have box office reports from that time, though I think his films weren’t such outright flops in Bengal as they were elsewhere). But there were many Bengali directors who followed that “neo-realist” style, especially during the first wave of “parallel cinema”, when many films were funded by NFDC. None of them had commercial success, though some did get international critical acclaim, though not as much as Ray.

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      • Pretty much all festival films are done in the “western” style. The director’s film was Margarita With a Straw, which was definitely western style. Her first film, Anu(? — the one about the Sikh massacres in 1984), could also said to be in that style. She trained at USC, I think. I met her during a screening on campus.

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      • Ray was certainly impressed with De Sica, but he actually worked under Renoir as assistant director on his film “The River” which was filmed in India. Ray has explicitly acknowledged Renoir for shaping his working style.

        Re Ray’s influence on Bengali film, at the time it was said by many Bengalis that his films were firmly in their “intellectual tradition”, and so they could appreciate him, while other Indian audiences couldn’t. I don’t know how true that may be (I don’t really have box office reports from that time, though I think his films weren’t such outright flops in Bengal as they were elsewhere). But there were many Bengali directors who followed that “neo-realist” style, especially during the first wave of “parallel cinema”, when many films were funded by NFDC. None of them had commercial success, though some did get international critical acclaim, though not as much as Ray.

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  5. Very educative post

    Also helps to evaluate short (90 min) indian movies and long (3 hr) indian movies differently

    The short movies have a easier time ‘sticking’ to the concept

    A 3 hr movie has an immense challenge in maintaining interest of the theater audience
    The moment the audience interest wavers/wanders then they start thinking logically about the gaps in the plot and that is always a bad thing !!!

    The other day someone was complaining that Tamil movies throw the kitchen sink into the plot and this could be one of the reasons. Because they have to hold the interest over 2 to 3 hrs, so maybe they cram a lot into the plot without sticking to one concept?

    Btw, I find it easier to watch director Hari’s movies (like Saamy) because the camera keeps moving.
    So there is no dull moment and your mind doesn’t wander, while watching the movie.

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    • In film criticism, there is a concept called “spectacle”. It means things that are thrown into the film for no reason, just to add excitement. The camera movements you describe would fit into that, also some song sequences (not all, but the ridiculous expensive ones), sexy women and men, big sets, and so on and so forth. In the Hindi cinema at least, the reliance on “spectacle” to keep the audience entertained came out of the Parsi theater tradition.

      On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 1:20 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

    • Done! I have never had any luck pitching folks, so clearly my pitch-picker is off, I will use this post in future.

      On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 3:09 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Okay I going to have to strongly disagree with Ray being uninfluential in India. There’s an entire slew of directors that are either credited with being directly influenced by Ray or partaking in the neo-realist style. For instance Bimal Roy was also heavily impacted by Bicycle Thieves and caused him to partake in film. Maybe the influence is a lot more stronger in parallel film compared to mainstream film but it’s still there nevertheless.

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