Movie Mahal

An online film journal for Indian Cinema

INDIAN CINEMA – the best of 2014

Each year lists and polls that are representative of critics and reviewers over the last 12 months are supposed to give us an idea about which films stood out, mattered or will be remembered in the future. Of course all of this premature canonisation happens largely at the expense of films which don’t fall into the periphery of a filmic discourse that shows an inherent bias towards films from Europe and the U.S. This means films from South Asia in particular and in my opinion India rarely get a look in, thereby leading to a marginalisation and a troubling extenuation of their Otherness. The same excuses are inexplicably banded about each year including the argument critics and reviewers don’t have the time to cram in every single film at a film festival. Fair enough but given the choice I would argue most critics/reviewers would choose a European auteur release over an Indian one because Indian cinema is still filtered by film journalism through the prism of Bollywood. And since Bollywood is so misunderstood by cinephilia then it becomes a seemingly impossible trap that Indian cinema finds itself. Boyhood appearing at number one in the Sight & Sound poll says it all about the way film canons navigate a course of absolute mediocrity, celebrating visibility rather than embracing films which deserve recognition for an obscurity engendered by the exact same systems of film journalism. As a way of rectifying such injustice I present to you a list of some of the best Indian films I’ve seen this year. This list is flawed though (hegemonically so) as it is not representative of the rich regional output of Indian cinema and skews more to Hindi films. Perhaps one could argue it is a seemingly impossible task to really keep up with all the cinema that does come out of India each year but nonetheless one has to try.

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2 comments on “INDIAN CINEMA – the best of 2014

  1. Roy Stafford
    December 16, 2014

    Excellent stuff Omar – I’ve managed to see at least four of these. All your selections here are in the ‘Hindie’ spectrum? I totally agree with your overall comments. Most European and North American cinephiles have no idea of the range of cinema being produced in India at the moment. They tend to think that a film like The Lunchbox is a single pearl.

    Like

  2. Omar Ahmed
    December 17, 2014

    Thanks Roy; agree that The Lunchbox is not singular but even my look back doesn’t account for the totality of regional output which offers in many cases better cinema than the mainstream Hindi films released each year

    Like

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This entry was posted on December 14, 2014 by in Indian CInema, New Indian Cinema and tagged .

OMAR AHMED

PhD Researcher (Indian Parallel Cinema), The University of Manchester (AHRC 2015).

Teacher of Film & Media.
Freelance Writer & Cinephile.

Contact:
oahmed5@gmail.com

STUDYING INDIAN CINEMA (Auteur, 2015)

DIRECTORY OF WORLD CINEMA: INDIA (2015)

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