It is a ‘different’ film

Bengaluru is a boon for cineastes. The advantage is that though not fully many understand a smattering of at least four languages. Films get a wide release and are lapped up irrespective of language. Stars from various States enjoy a huge following but small films with strong content sustain commendably. I heard about ‘Arjun Reddy’ from a wannabe director who’d watched it thrice two days after it was released. Suddenly everyone seemed to be talking about the film. The hushed encomiums for this seemingly nondescript film drew more crowds dwarfing the efforts of giant hoardings outside theatres showing ‘Vivegam’. A few days after it was released it was being hailed as a ‘cult classic’.

Indian cinema experiences periodic seismic waves that don’t sustain but unsettles time tested norms, temporarily. The Telugu film industry is speckled with various, diverse genres accepted with equal enthusiasm creating a colourful mosaic. Raghavendra Rao’s films may have been loud and garish when compared to a K. Vishwanath or a Bapu effort but the response was equally rapturous though probably from different sections. There’s space for every genre and taste. Only a lover of meaningful cinema can churn out good films. That’s purely because he treats the ticket buyer as an equal rather than an intellectual inferior. Ramgopal Varma did it with ‘Shiva’ as Mani Ratnam with ‘Mouna Raagam’. The stories were the same but the narration was fresh. These two were successful in refining clichés and the fact that they were untrained encouraged a horde of youngsters with cinematic dreams.

The lines have blurred between fact and fantasy in films. Relatable is the key word. The definition of ‘hero’ has changed if the fare is not run of the mill. When the college bully struts around menacingly you wait for the hero to appear from nowhere and save the damsel in distress by bashing him up. None of this happens in ‘Arjun Reddy’ because the bully plays the titular…

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