Bollyspace

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Upperstall reviews Lage Raho Munnabhai

In Upperstall's review of Lage Raho Munnabhai, I found this bit particularly interesting:

Remember the times when NFDC and Films' Division continually tried to create and promote socially-relevant films? How that idea transmogrified into (a kind of) parallel cinema and gave birth to many good films by equally good filmmakers (a more recent example in Gowariker's Swades )? But Lage Raho Munna Bhai simply redefines the very concept of such a film. You can have stars, you can have songs and dance, you can bargain with exhibitors and multiplexes (and win), you can have side-splitting humour, your leading men can portray goons and chase girls, and you can STILL make a very effective film with great cinematic value and social relevance! Surely this is genius.

The reviewer is right, I think, in getting us to think about LRM as a film that doesn't fit neatly into categories like "commercial" or "parallel." The broader context within which a film like LRM is being made is important to acknowledge here, particularly the relationship between cinema and the state. The state's relationship to cinema is no longer defined by "developmental" concerns, which is what led to the establishment of NFDC (National Film Development Corporation). If anything, initiatives like FRAMES demonstrate ways in which the state has, over the past 8 years or so (beginning with the landmark 1998 decision to grant industry status), actively sought to reframe its relationship with cinema. And unlike in the NFDC-phase, it is very difficult to pin down genres that define this latest phase of the state-cinema relationship. It is tempting to suggest that the Karan Johar variety of films are the dominant genre, but for every K-Jo disaster, there is an Omkara and a Lage Raho Munnabhai.

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