This question has puzzled many seekers, as contemporary artists refer to cinema as an art, majority at least, whilst few portions of admirers consider films a corporate affair—a fusion of art and business. When I attend events that range from literature, theater, and philosophy, I come to realize the misinterpretation of cinema—primarily based on the audience present in the crowd! Let me categorize a few movies that led to drastic levels of blood pressure modifications for the gurus of cinema!
What type of a movie is Ek Tha Tiger? Ek Tha Tiger is a pure feature movie, with commercial values. Kabir Khan wrote this movie for Salman Khan and not the other way around. Many of the critics upheld criticism against Ek Tha Tiger for apparently hindering their orgasmic blasts. Whilst, completely ignoring that such a movie is meant for Rahul who studies at Tribhuvan University, Ghansyam who may be a big Salman admirer from Wasseypur, or a belly dancer from Delhi who would want to see their star Salman Khan dance to a track amidst the sultry desert locales.
Ek Tha Tiger doesn’t fall in that category of the pseudo-intellectual phrase, “meaningful cinema,” as a movie—say, Barfi—would despite many loopholes, ripped scenes, and a Nepalese person named Murphy Bahadur. At least, the vibe of Dublin was present in Ek Tha Tiger, although I forgot to check the news about half of Dublin going into frenzy because Tiger just destroyed the sweet little city. Nonetheless, watching Barfi, I loved Darjeeling, but could anybody please advice the Darjeeling natives to be more precise, clear, and elaborative in the portrayal of an area largely dominated by middle and lower middle-class people of Nepalese descent? Having just complimented Anurag Basu, I would commend him for his amicable effort and direction. After all, I only wished that I could have been of help in the making of Kites.
Coming back, this is the commercial art of cinema. What is commercial art? It’s a process of dedicating movies for audiences primarily interested in specific typologies of cinema, whereby the commerce aspect becomes the benchmark for the success of that particular “art.” I’m unsure whether this commercial cinema would qualify as art because art is an independent unit—that doesn’t need any barometer in measuring the significance and the purpose, per se, of the piece of glittering interpretation.
With the commerce fading behind the smoke, all I could propose is a dose of No Smoking! Anurag Kashyap qualifies as one eccentric filmmaker and an idol for many aspiring filmmakers who don’t have their chacha, mama, dada, dadi, nani, nana, papa, mata, etc in the film industry (in India more than anywhere else, although we all realize—politics is the second trade known to man. First is something Mrs. Sunny Leone would have some ideas about!)
With No Smoking, a viewer witnessed a movie that confused, puzzled, and turned off many such viewers. Received with no love at the BO, and little affection by the critiques of Bharat Nagari, No Smoking is a definition of art movie that doesn’t really serve any purpose, except exhibit cinema as a medium of emotional exchanges. This is where the term, “art,” might be relevant, as No Smoking is what many intellectuals and philosophers of film would call “offbeat.” A term loosely borrowed from musical beats—the wise prefer it. However, a question does ring the telephone—what is “on the beat” cinema then? For Bollywood, is it dancing around the trees, while aficionados such as Dalai Lama bless the couple? Alternatively, in Hollywood, is it some super action star coming and destroying Russia for the zillionth time? In Nepalese picture, is it Chadke—the entirely chadke movie in every sense, or is it the great Nepalese action star Rajesh Hamal dancing to Hud Hud Dabbang?
With this term, primarily moviemakers, critiques, and film lovers accept that the “commercial, regular” aspect of films are the “in the beat” cinema. After all, when movies first started in early 1900s, the aim was to entertain and earn a living. Those days were rocky for film and theater artists. Unlike today, the reputation of this form of “art,” was paradoxical. Where does entertainment blend with art? Perhaps that’s the “meaningful cinema,” big brothers talk about!
Let me bring a movie in the stage; a movie I liked very much, the Reader. Many accuse it as an Oscar-bait movie, and they wouldn’t be far off it, as it has everything an Oscar winner would have, except it didn’t. Essentially, feature movies are made for entertainment. The Reader is one gripping saga of a woman and her unnatural effects on a young boy, something that didn’t leave him until the end—very much in his twilight (Ralph Fiennes or the Voldemort with nose— whatever makes you happy). The Reader draws a fine line and converges three categories: commercial movie, art movie, fact movie. The line is subtle but the plot is domineering, and Kate Winslet gives a sensational performance. This is where drama makes its triumphant entrance—a drama, that’s it.
Right now, a saying is reverberating in my mind, “A classic is such that everybody has heard about, few have read, while the labor’s book is such that nobody bothers to admire, yet plenty have experienced the drama in it.” If cinema is an art, it must definitely be the labor’s book. Inside cinema, the movie that bores you until death do you lot apart, must be that classic, the Holy Quran of filmmaking, while the movie that really doesn’t have any message and the only aim is to create hysteria must be the ordinary book. After all, everybody has watched Tom N Jerry once in their lifetime; in that ratio, few have read Macbeth—although I do recommend reading Macbeth, but go through Hemmingway and Wilde before meeting Shakespeare, as he wouldn’t remember the name!
Is Cinema Art? Yes, that is the question…
Cinema is an art when you intend it as an art. The documentary, “Himalayan Gold Rush,” is one informative piece, a fact film. At the same time, the activities within the camera, the shot is art because it is dancing with shadows. Art is where you dance with shadows and another shadow appears out of nowhere—illogical, complete maniacal. If art is illogical—to say science is logical—why oh Holy Grail, thy trieth to findest thee mystery of logic in the artist’s pen of clairvoyance? Why oh sage of the mountains of jurisdiction—thy not understandeth artes de la vida? Whom am I questioning? Yes, you, look here—YOU!
To read art, become art!
Once upon a time in la-la land… There lived a demon by the name of Ferocious. Ferocious, who conquered the land of Stotain and married the Dark Princess of Vinegar. 2000 years today, iPhone came into existence. Before it’s too late, a wonderful quote: True movies are like true women, even if you can’t seem to tolerate them, they still have your time—consequently, money!
Until next time, against all odds, but once again…
Image credit funnycorner.net