Sunday, January 12, 2014

Off-Beat REAL Cinema

This post won the Miss Lovely Contest organized by Blogadda.

                               Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out.
Martin Scorsese 
Cinema is the most powerful tool for conveying the latent issues or messages which people are afraid of talking freely. Cinema is not purely about entertainment but breaking the lull of sleeping masses. Cinema is not all about peppy dialogues but breaking the mum over potential termite- issues which are eating the inside of our society. Cinema is not all about zippy grooves and swaying hips but taking a stand in unison against human atrocities.

Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second.
Jean-Luc Godard 

Cinema is a teacher which can teach one subjects ranging from mythology to literature, dictatorship to democracy,  life to death , humane to inhumane. India being a multi-coloured country has a glorious past , a striving present and an uncertain future. People here see whatever is shown on the screen whether it is beautiful or obscene. They just see it for the sake of seeing. But now the time has come to watch the scenes behind the curtain. It is the moral responsibility of the Indian producers to use this powerful medium for the sake of the country, bring the 'real' cinema on the screen.
                                                 Cinema is a medium that can translate ideas.
                                                                                                                                    David Lynch 
I appreciate the efforts of some of the cinema people who went out of their way to bring out the stark realities hidden behind the glamour and pompous lens. 

1. JALPARI - The Desert Mermaid

Movie: Jalpari - The Desert Mermaid
Cast: Lehar Khan, Krishang Trivedi, Pravin Dabas, Suhasini Mulay, Tannishtha Chatterjee
Direction: Nila Madhab Panda
Date of Release : 31 august 2012

The Story behind the Lens
This is not like the story of Alice in Wonderland meeting the fantastical characters down the rabbit-hole. But it's the story of Desi Alice Shreya (Lehar Khan) who encounters her fairy-tale dream, albeit in India's hinterlands. She lands in her father's village in Haryana for her vacations with her brother, Sam, to explore the village spun right out of a fairy tale, replete with streams, lakes and grasslands that will allow them to run free. But all they find are dusty alleys, dried up ponds and hostile playmates. She's the only tomboy this backward village has ever seen, where women are as 'covered-up' as their deep dark secrets.  She wanders like a local gaon ki chhori, meets villagers whose mindsets are narrower than local gullis, befriends and bullies the local boys, beats them at their games and finally crosses the most dreaded, 'No Entry' zone - the daayan's haveli. And hence finds out the dark secret of the village bereft of water and women. 

Why to Watch
The dried village wishes for a mermaid to sprinkle rain over them and rescue them from the self-inflicted miseries. The movie shows how the heinous crime of female foeticide was concealed in the haveli in the name of the witch. The orthodox beliefs and superstitions are still prevalent in the rustic lands howsoever progress India has made in the urbane lands.


Movie: Oass
Cast: Dibya Chhetri, Yashpal Sharma, Jameel Khan,Priyanka Bose, Subrata Dutta
Direction: Abhinav Shiv Tiwari
Date of Release : 18 October 2012

The Story behind the Lens
Oass means Dew Drop. A Dew Drop that refuses to go into the bottomless well of non-existence. It is the journey of a child, a colleen, a woman. It documents the turbulent journey of Kiku from the innocence of childhood to winning the battle of survival. Thousands of little girls are bartered for money each year to be shoved into the ever growing sex trade, making it one of the largest contraband businesses today. Kiku hails from the beautiful hills of Nepal. When Kiku was 11 years old, her life was like a dream – time spent running around in the fields in her village and playing with her little sister. Like any other girl of her age, she dreamt of a bright future that good education could provide her. This ambition took her all the way to Delhi – only to be sold to a brothel where she was drugged, raped, kicked and punched. Everyday a little more of her soul was crushed. However, she believed that she had to win this battle for freedom to help rescue other victims like her.

Why to Watch
OASS brings to light the menace of girl-child trafficking and the perils faced by the many Kikus across the globe. It is inspired from many true-life stories of girls like Kiku. It’s influenced by the narrative given by the girl about herself and various others like her who have been through this torment. The central character of the movie is inspired from the true story of a girl whose immense determination to achieve freedom helped her not only to stay alive but also bring to us the ordeal she had been through. It also draws inspiration from the lives of various other Kikus worldwide. It is  an eye opener for the “civilized” world.


Movie: Choli Ke Peeche ( Gangor)
CastAdil Hussain , Priyanka Bose, Samrat Chakrabarti, Seema Rahmani, Tilottama Shome.
Direction:  Italo Spinelli(story by Mahasweta Devi.)
Date of Release : 15 March 2013

The Story behind the Lens
Upin , a photo journalist is sent to Purulia (Kolkata) to cover astory on the exploitation of tribals. There he comes across a tribal woman called ' Gangor', who he thinks is the epitiome of Indian beauty. He shoots pictures of her .When an article on ‘Stop Rape’ along with a picture of Gangor breastfeeding her child is published on the front page of a Bengali daily. The lives of Upin and Gangor take an unexpected turn introducing a tragic twist in the story. Gangor’s world turns upside down the moment the newspaper reaches her village.

She falls prey to bitter backlash from the villagers. She loses her daily work at the brick firm. Her misery doubles, when she becomes homeless. The picture of her breastfeeding incites the local police to exploit her physically. The police start chasing her in quest of carnal pleasure. Taking advantage of the ill-fated Gangor’s helplessness, the flesh-hungry vultures in the guise of public life’s saviors take her forcibly to the police station and gang rape her. The movie depicts the internal trauma of a liberal urbane photographer who unwillingly becomes the part of the very violence he wishes to end. Purulia is the district haunted by Naxalites and resided by Kheria Sabars whose livelihood depends on forests. But with the rapid industrialization, forests are being cut down and they are rendered as gipsy.These tribals face the problem of seasonal unemployment and pittance pay. And the worst happens with the tribal women who are exploited sexually.

Why to Watch
The movie depicts how easily women fell prey to hungry bulls. And when they are shunned from their family and society , they have no other option left to survive rather than surrendering themselves. It raises the questions against the motives of life - guardians -policeman. If the saviour authority is ridden with lecherous gleam, whom should  a common woman approach ???


Movie: Salaam Bombay!
Cast: Nana Patekar, Shafiq Syed, Irrfan Khan, Anita Kanwar, Raghuvir Yadav
Direction:  Mira Nair
Date of Release:13 September 1988

The Story behind the Lens
The film chronicles the day-to-day life of children living on the streets of Mumbai (then Bombay).It  is the gritty tale of 10-year old Krishna (Shafiq Syed, a runaway discovered by Nair), a boy kicked out of his home, and abandoned by the traveling circus he had joined. In desperation, he uses the little money he has to buy a one-way ticket to the nearest city, which turns out to be Bombay. He follows the thieves, befriends them, and ends up in the city's notorious red-light area of Falkland Road, near the Grant Road Railway Station. Tutored by a drug addict and a prostitute, Krishna learns how to survive in the streets of the dirty and crowded city. At the end Krishna is shown going back to his world of drug-pushers, pimps and prostitutes, still nurturing his dream of one day returning to his mother.

Why to Watch
Salaam Bombay! takes your breath away with its harrowing portrait of the deprivations endured by this hungry and homeless young boy who seems condemned by fate to a hopeless future. The  movie is about children doing the best they can for themselves. But the poverty takes toll and getting into wrong hands spoil their whole life. It raises questions about the future of the street children who beg, deal and survive.


Movie: Parzania
CastNaseeruddin Shah ,Corin Nemec ,Sarika ,Parzan Dastur, Pearl Barsiwalla, Raj Zutshi
Direction:   Rahul Dholakia
Date of Release :26 January 2007
The Story behind the Lens
The film is inspired by the true story of a ten-year-old Parsi boy, Azhar Mody, who disappeared after the 28 February 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre, during the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 during which 69 people were killed.Parzania doesn't talk of politicians or the reasons that triggered off the riots. It tells of a family whose lives go topsy-turvy during the riots. Allan, an American, arrives in Ahmedabad searching for answers, praying to find internal peace and understand the world and his troubled life. Allan chooses India as his school and Gandhi as his subject. It's here that he meets Cyrus and his loving  Pithawala family. 

Cyrus  lives with his wife Shernaz , son Parzan and daughter Dilshad . Communal riots break out in the city and the Hindus target this housing colony. In the aftermath of the riots, Cyrus searches for his missing child while fighting for his own sanity. While assisting the Pithawalas in their search, Allan battles to uncover the reason behind the riots in an effort to make some sense of the incident. People start to question government's official explanation of the incident which downplays any conspiracy.  As a result, a Human Rights Commission is formed. Through the commission, several witnesses and victims testify against the indifference of the police to protect them from the rioters. The film ends with a dedication to the victims of communal violence.

Why to Watch
The film unfolds the 2002 Godhra riots and aftermath on screen.It gives the clear message -the common man is most affected when catastrophe strikes! The wounds may have begun to heal, but the atrocities leave behind scars that are difficult to conceal. People should act wise and choose a secular leader who doesn't commit any of such crimes for meagre vote banks.

        This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAdda.

Miss Lovely, an off-beat film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. It follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid – 1980s. A sordid tale of betrayal and doomed love, the film dives into the lower depths of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with baroque cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, wild background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama. Miss Lovely is scheduled for commercial release on 17 January 2014.



  1. There is yet another movie that i haven't watched... Choli ke peeche -- thanks for listing it in your post. My list of 'movies to watch' is now increasing because of this contest. :)

    Arvind Passey

    1. Ya, it's a worth watching movie. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  2. Too good :) I missed out on participating in this event as I was busy attending the Lit-Fest here in Chennai - but I will still write a post on this theme soon :)

    1. Oh!!!! that's great Mahesh. I will explore your space for the Lit-fest review. Thank-you for your words. :)

  3. Congrats Surbhi for winning a prize for this lovely post. Your granny is proud of you.

    1. Thank-you Granny. Your blessings keep me going. :) :x

  4. Thanks for listing movies I didnt watch !
    I watched Parzania though and was touched :)
    Lovely list and a deserving win

    1. Hey Afshan. Thank-you so much. It's pleasure to have you on my space. :)

  5. Interesting list, thanks for the same. I need such a list, now. What is the best way to get movies to watch that are not running on the Theater?

    1. Hey DI, Well to procure such a list, you have to follow some off-beat methods like keep visiting my space. :P
      You can get such lists if you keep reading magazines which cover bits about every less popular hit. :)

  6. Hey surbhi thanks for stopping by . Hearty congratulations to you too :-)

  7. Hi!

    Awesome list! will watch these movies soon!

  8. Hey!! So glad to have discovered you, even if it was through the win! A great compilation of must-watch movies!

    Love your writing style and following you now :)

    1. Welcome Canary. I'm pleased to receive your compliments. Thank-you. :)

  9. congrats Surbhi.. awesome set of movies.. worth the win :)


Don't leave before leaving your words here. I will count on your imprints in my blogspace. :)