Bollywood, Bollywood, Bollywood… Over the last ten years, the term has been widely and excessively used. What is it ail about? Is this a publicity stunt aimed at selling a film genre or a quality label or anything else?
People who have been closely interested in Indian cinema fora long time knew straightaway that Bollywood was nothing more than a new brand for big studio-made popular Indian films relying on the star system.
This year’s Bollywood section in our festival essentially aims at reasserting that the greatest popular Indian films were mostly made before the appearance of the Bollywood “label” and that the golden age of these great entertaining films was the Fifties.
The directors-authors in their own right-of these films were Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Mehboob Khan, Kamal Amrohi, Karimuddin Asif. Their films remain milestones in the history of cinema and will not be overshadowed by the poorer production from today’s film-makers.
Watching four versions of Devdas (two from 1935 and two remakes made in 1955 and 2002) will help check (and perhaps decide) whether Bollywood is nothing else than contemporary wrapping for a content which cannot compete with films such as Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957) or Karimuddin Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam (1960) which are matchless, and will remain so for many years.
Our Nantes audience will have the opportunity to see such films very rarely seen in France and to appreciate their high artistic quality.