A New Wave Of Regional Indian Cinema Is Transforming How We View Our Society - Homegrown

A New Wave Of Regional Indian Cinema Is Transforming How We View Our Society

Up until a decade ago, Bollywood was the unofficiated global merchandise of Indian cinema. With commercial ‘blockbusters’, poor storylines and absurd portrayal of the Indian narrative, Bollywood somehow managed to become the spokesperson for the Indian community in the global entertainment arena. With the advent of the internet and digitization, the term ‘Indian cinema’ is undergoing massive shifts.

The introduction of OTT platforms such as Netflix, Prime & Mubi have unraveled a section of the Indian cinematic realm that was once not easily accessible to the general public. The masses, which were earlier exposed to failing plotlines, overstated song and action sequences are now able to redefine the experience of watching a film and what it could stand for. This accessibility which had once strayed the Gen-Z and millennials towards Western content in the past is now making a very promising attempt to reel them back in with resurgence of compelling regional Indian cinema. But how and why has this shift occurred?

The Indian gen-z and millennials are specifically unique for their views, opinions and perception of the world varies drastically from the ones posed by their preceding generations. There is something undeniably revolutionary about their approach towards contemporary Indian society and it reflects sharp critique and analysis of societal norms. The Indian cinema of yore (read late 1990s and early 2000s) were already sparking open conversations on the functioning of society, gender norms and were also delving into meaningful storytelling in order to get the audience to think. In the decade that followed, regional film industries namely, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi industries were already necessitating changes towards altering their storytelling.

By the arrival of OTT platforms post 2010, these filmmakers had already instigated a wave of independent vernacular cinema, most of whom were released on these platforms, making it available to their audience, gen-z and millennials comprising a majority of it.

Powerful storytelling, inclusive creative contribution and a liberal approach to filmmaking has driven recent vernacular cinema to its fore today. Jallikattu, a Malayalam action-feature was India’s official entry to this year’s oscars. Visaranai, a Tamil feature film delves into police brutality in Southern India. Talent across all aspects (Acting, cinematography, direction, sound track) have emerged from different rungs of society, making raw talent and bold conversations at the core of these films.

Films are no longer a one-time ‘watch and forget’ experience. These movies aim to engage the audience on a more visceral level, provoking dialogue and conversations around them. We could just be on the brink of a revolutionary change for Indian cinema and it already appears to be a hopeful one.

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