Leaving the history behind, when likes of V Shantaram and Dada Saheb Falke tried all their means to bring technology to India for a better cinematic experience as well as to translate their creativity in a more sophisticated way, the Indian cinema today has almost came at par with the world.
It was Auguste and Louis Lumière of Lumiere brothers fame who screened some early moving images to an Indian audience and showed the way. Things have changed now; we are showing things to the world. The Indian cinema is going places and it is now not limited with mere award shows and some magazines.
There are directors, actors, producers from India which have become international names. Amitabh, Aishwarya, Aamir, Shah Rukh, Hrithik along with Shekhar Kapoor, Irfaan Khan, Naseeruddin Shah are some name which are the face of Indian Cinema to the world.
What took it so long and why now it has made it big (if at all it had!)?
Frankly speaking, there was a time in recent past where for some reasons Bollywood made some pathetic films with boring chor-dakoo, love triangle, murder mystery,amir ladki-garib ladka etc. themes. And at this moment world cinema was booming in terms of themes as well as technology. This period of 1985-2000 (even 2000-5) was one of the worst run of Bollywood where they lacked innovations at creativity as well as technology.
Hollywood produced some marvels of technology like Jurrasic Park, Star Wars etc. at this moment, Iran saw Majid Majidi’s creative genius and we were engaged in repetitive love stories with some bike ridden goondas with hockey sticks chasing our hero!
Now the scene has changed, directors like Anurag Basu, Anurag Kashyap, Apoorva Lakhiya, Diwakar Banarjee, Rituparno Ghosh, Shyam Benegal, Mani Ratnam, Ram Gopal Verma and a good bunch of others (list is too long!) have taken the creative part to the next level. For the first time we see creativity is being mixed with technological advancements.
Multiplexes and target audiences have changed the way of marketing and perception of cinema making as well. Now movies are being made on hand held cameras, in video format, more movies on 35mm and 16mm, use of spy cams, web cam and other concepts are pacing up the production and giving something innovative to the world audience. Internet has added to the fast promotion and advertising of cinema.
The 12 song movie concept is gone now and music has become limited to 3-4 songs with lesser songs on the movie unless it is a musical or romance based. Two hour cinema is the new trend to woo the fast moving audience of metros and the world. Fats paced movies where audience is tightly looking to the screen and listening to the crisp surround sound has made a mark.
These changes, along with personal efforts of producers like Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar, Rakesh Roshan (in past it was Satyjit Ray who promoted his films to world) etc. who took their films to western audience have helped Indian cinema get global acceptance.
Due to a cultural shift and hence shock where the world never understood the logic of two lovers singing in tendon with an invisible band playing sitar whereas the hero is on piano was done away in recent times, international audience couldn’t take it. They have to be given brains but our cinema worked on heart! This heart-thing was minimised and edited for a better reception outside Indian subcontinent.
Thematically, at times inspired by various filmmakers from the world like Korea, Japan, Iran, America, France, England etc. Indian cinema took a step ahead for international acceptance. Cannes, BAFTA, Oscars, Golden Globe etc. were some of the forums which gave importance to our cinema and their makers. Slumdog Millionaire is one cinema which took the world by storm winning anywhere it participated. Though not made by Indian filmmaker, yet it had Indian story and actors which has attracted a lot of world attention towards our genre.
Of late the Indian filmmakers have started thinking out of box and on the lines of world. Films are more realistic and dealt with much more precision now. Every frame is taken seriously with seriousness in design of sets to clothes to props matching each other to the brim. Professionalism has come. Ideas have started coming and are being translated on the screen as well. We are serving films edited for two audiences: Indian version and International version! We are releasing films on YouTube! Our stars are on Twitter and go out to promote their movies.
This all was missing earlier and directors and actors dismissed these as something petty and cheap. But once they took it seriously, Indian cinema got a face to show. Thanks to a large population of Indians in world around and new directors who think the other way and the gutsy producers who bet money and then take pains to release and promote our style of cinema making to the world!