Dev Sanskriti: Interdisciplinary International Journal (Jan 2016)

The Cinema of India


Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7


Read online

With what outlook should one construct, analyze or dissect film theory? Should one view cinema as a medium of mass communication? Propaganda? Entertainment? Art? Or should cinema be considered a concoction of them all? In trying to formulate a film theory, dealing with all these elementary characteristics of cinema poses a serious problem. Gaston Roberge notes that – A theory of movies would tell us what a movie is, what it is made for, how it is created in images and sounds, and for whom it is made1. The questions respectively deal with the content of a movie, the validity of the content in terms of the prevailing socio-political circumstances, the form of the movie and the target audience of the movie. Now, obviously, it is required for Indian cinema to be able to provide at least a level of generalization in answering the aforementioned questions to be considered to have a theory of its own. The purpose of this article would be to investigate whether or not such a generalization (subsequently, a film theory) is possible for Indian cinema, and then to delve further to find out how much of that theory is rooted in our original outlook toward audio-visual art. Now obviously the span of one article does not allow analysis of every type of cinema produced in as cinema-crazy a country as ours, where almost every state has its own regional cinema, independent cinema, art-house cinema and recently, underground cinema. For the purpose of the present article, therefore, we would restrict ourselves to the popular Indian cinema, namely Bollywood productions that some critics coin as commercial or entertainment cinema