This is a nation dedicated to cinema, and I, for one, am the blessed to be in a profession where we laugh, dance and cry while still at work! Indian cinema has gone through several changes over the years. What stands out through all the transformations, however, is our rich cinematic heritage.
The ’40s and ’50s were, in my opinion, the best decades in terms of cinema. Prolific filmmakers like Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy and Yash Chopra wowed us with their genius and different filmmaking styles. The ’60s saw the emergence of hill stations in our films and the “yahoo phenomenon” with actor Shammi Kapoor. The ’70s got even bigger with the entrance of two of the most respected and dignified personalities in Indian cinema — scriptwriter duo Salim-Javed and superstar Amitabh Bachchan (the original “angry young man”).
Then, of course, we have the ’80s. A decade where were we fumbled in terms of technicality, where there was loud melodrama and where we got this mock terminology for our cinema called Bollywood. Thankfully, the ’90s were different. Dedicated to family and love, films like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Hum Aapke Hai Kaun stormed their way into the hearts of people.
The next decade was the most defining one -- we had blockbuster films like Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hai, Gadar, Chandni Bar and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. This was the beginning of the ‘Golden Age’, which I feel has continued till today. Last year, in fact, was very special. We had a brilliant mix of films like Gangs of Wasseypur, Kahani, Vicky Donor, Ek Tha Tiger and Agneepath.
Today, I feel blessed that we have a release in the form of Bombay Talkies. This film -- essentially the coming together of different directors — is the perfect celebration of the 100 years of cinema. We, as filmmakers, have marked the centenary in our own way, pushing the envelope and basically coming out of our comfort zone. It is indeed the magic of cinema!
-- As told to Kunal M Shah