Bela Negi- The Continued Emergence of Independent Bollywood Cinema
Posted by Editor on October 24, 2010 | 1 Comment
In the recent times Bollywood has witnessed a new breed of filmmakers giving the art of story telling a new dimension.
What started of with films such as Bheja Fry, Dasvidaniya and more recently SOCH LO,and Do Dooni Chaar, gets a further kick start by FTII trained director, Bela Negi’s, Daayeh Ya Baayen. This is not an Art house cinema, this is Commercial and for the masses cinema, just without stars again challenging the very business module, around which most of the films are made in Bollywood.
This, happily for the viewers of Indian film, signals a dramatic fulcrum shift from the old school thinking to the new order. An emphasis on a simple story telling, with real actors.
Here is more on Bela and her upcoming film Daayen ya Baayen
Bela Negi – Editor, Writer, Director
It started with a news piece about a poor man in Assam winning a massive lottery. It set me thinking about the happy and not so happy repercussions of this windfall. Of how his expectations from life would be turned around and how he would try to acquire a new sense of respectability in the eyes of the world. So in the film the poor man has become a disillusioned poet who is trying to do something with his life and the lottery is a car. And the road to respectability becomes even more tenuous because of the incongruity of a bright red luxury car in a mostly road less landscape of Uttarakhand.
Of course, the basic premise of the story could have also played out in the cityscape, since the fundamental concerns of people are the same everywhere. Yet the attitudes by which we address those concerns, the consciousness within which we frame our experiences, differ. And it is this unique worldview that has evolved in this little corner of the world, my homeland, which I hoped to evoke through my film.
At a more personal level, the driving force of the protagonist, the need for recognition and the limited vision of looking at himself through the eyes of other people, are the complexities that exist in most people, in me. So Ramesh Majila (the protagonist) is comic, absurd, helpless, sad, struggling with his own sense of personal identity. But there is a genuine need in him to make a difference, to reaffirm his sense of dignity. Surrounded by the mud-and-wood houses, with a cowshed in his basement, the heroism of it all cannot be overemphasized.
Deepak Dobriyal, Manav Kaul and Badrul are the only professional actors from Mumbai in the film. The rest of the cast is all local, some of them involved in amateur theatre but mostly villagers who are facing the camera for the first time. I didn’t want actors from Mumbai pretending to be Uttarakhandi villagers.
The cast and crew held together, put their faith in each other. It was a tough shooting schedule – 48 days at a go with very limited resources at hand and a mostly outdoor shoot in the unpredictable weather of the hills. Even the city bred crew of the film did the long uphill walks almost everyday to get to location. There was no time to look daayen ya baayen, only to look ahead.