The very name Bollywood conjures up images of songs and dances, action and comedy. Women in scanty apparel gyrating to lyrics that often cross the thin line between naughty and lascivious. The lone hero outnumbered by but unhesitatingly bashing up men twice his size. The female lead more often than not playing second fiddle to the hero. Not the raw materials of India’s finest films, surely.
Bollywood: Songs and dances and action and comedy
Even before the Hindi film industry got its new moniker (Bollywood), films played coy in portraying romance and making do with two roses bending seductively towards each other or then two birds beaking vigorously.
One would then be tempted to imagine (especially nowadays, when Bollywood stars and movies have become so popular overseas) that the film industry was always making fluff – feel-good movies that lifted you outside of your dull, drab life for three hours into the glamorous world of bold and beautiful people, the film stars.
Parallel Cinema: Hopes and dreams and angst and desire
But it was Bollywood that gave us Mirch Masala, a film that showed not just class struggles and the lowly status of women in society but was also a strong statement of women empowerment achieved with solidarity between women. Smita Patil’s performance in this movie was listed by Forbes on its list, “25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema”.
The viewer will experience over the next few months a selection of some of our landmark films packaged with some interesting trivia. A true spread for the Cineaste ! This is also a great moment to acknowledge the contribution made by the filmmakers and the film talent who walked with us on this journey and created these endearing works of cinematic expression ~ NFDC spokesperson, Ms. Nazhat J. Shaikh, Director (Finance)
Who can forget India’s entry to the Oscars that swept away the awards. Yes, Gandhi , the film based on the life of the father of the Nation, and which took 20 years to finally be made. Every Indian who saw this move no doubt felt her heart quiver with the intense patriotism that movie inspired.
“Apne pasand ki cheez milna badi baat hai.
Agar sab kuch mil gaya, lekin apne pasand ki cheez hi na mili toh matlab kya hai jee kay!”
(“It is a big thing, to get what one desires.
If you have everything, but cannot get that one thing you desire, then what is the point of living!”)
The quote above is the reason the elderly maid in the eponymous film Gangoobai, strives to accomplish her dream of buying a costly Gara sari and changes the lives of individuals she comes in contact with while in Mumbai to purchase the sari.
These films, part of the parallel cinema, portrayed the hope, dreams, desires, anger and angst of a generation and they invoked intense reactions within us, also hoping to change the mindset of people by addressing subjects which were important but difficult to talk about.
Indian Cinema, over the years, has beautifully transformed and re-invented itself. From socially relevant topics of child marriage, dowry, female feticide, re-marriage to a simple love story, film-makers have done it all.
WohZamaanaKareDeewana: A successful marriage between Zee Classic and NFDC
I personally feel Zee Classic’s initiative is a very good one. It will help to keep alive the film culture of our country and Zee Classic is in the ideal position to do this. ~ Mr. Shyam Benegal
These films would be difficult to access were it not for the television channel, Zee Classic who tied up with National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) in ‘WohZamaanaKareDeewana’ to bring these iconic movie classics and new age cinema and showcase the creative talent of that timeless era not just to those that remember seeing the movies in theatres but also to today’s young generations.
Starting 16th July, every Saturday at 10 PM, Zee Classic will premiere ‘India’s Finest Films’, a distinguished property showcasing masterpieces like ‘Mirch Masala’, ‘Ek Doctor kiMaut’, ’27 Down’ and ‘Salaam Bombay’ amongst many other such gems from the NFDC library.
These movies mark the debut of icons like Irrfan Khan, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah and many more.
Here is a list of the 14 ‘India’s Finest Films’ that will be showcased by ‘WohZamaanaKareDeewana’
- 16th July – Salaam Bombay
- 23rd July – Mirch Masala
- 30th July – Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro
- 6th August – Ek Doctor Ki Maut
- 13th August – Gandhi
- 20th August – Ardh Satya
- 27th August – Pestonjee
- 3rd Septemeber – Qissa
- 10th Septemeber – 27 Down
- 17th Septemeber – Gangoobai
- 24th Septemeber – Mammo
- 1st October – Massey Sahib
- 8th October – Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan
- 15th October – The Good Road
And if you are like me, loving to know more about that which catches your fancy, ‘India’s Finest Films – A Parallel Journey’ will appeal to you. It includes views of stalwarts of Indian cinema like ShyamBenegal, Mahesh Bhatt, Saeed Mirza, Kundan Shah, RohiniHattangadi amongst others. Catch it on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDRbplMpfOI or on TV as a prelude to ‘India’s Finest Films’.
~So hurry, grab the popcorn and your favourite seat on the settee starting 16th July onwards, 10 PM and tune-in to Zee Classic for ‘India’s Finest Films’ ~
(All pics courtesy: ZEE Classic)