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"I miss the good actors," Says Bhaichand Patel

New Delhi, Wed, 28 Mar 2012 NI Wire
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Over the last 60 years , the scenario has changed in Bollywood , the women in the indian cinema are more worldly and the men are more macho and the cinema are more techno savvy like the Hollywood, says famous cinema writer and critic Bhaichand Patel.

In an interview to IANS Patel told "The women in Hindi cinema are more assertive though no less beautiful (than yesteryear ones), they often smoke on screen and they are equal to men. Mainstream cinema has been a good trend-setter for equality of gender - it is happening now".

"The hero, however, has not changed as much as women though they - the crop represented by Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn and Amitabh Bachchan - are a little more physical and action-oriented than the early superstars like Dilip Kumar and Raj Kumar". He added.

Patel is former UN official, and has studied filmmaking at New York University. A graduate of London School of Economics, Bhaichand has also served as a barrister.

In his recent book, "Bollywood's Top 20: Superstars of Indian Cinema", which was launched on launched on Monday; he has outlined the whole structure of Indian cinema and its changing face. The book also features the essays about the top 20 stars as per their popularity and talent.

"The 20 stars we have chosen are not necessarily the most talented. But they were - some of them still are - the most popular of their times...Some of them have also created spectacular flops, the biggest dud of all times, but that comes within their territory," he said.

"The three stars I would have loved to include was Nadia, Nutan and Vyjayanthimala. Nadia was a great actor - she was jumping from train to train, hitting villains with whips and her horse was known as 'Punjab ka beta'," he added.

The writer, who was baptised into Indian cinema as a child with 'Fearless' Nadia's "Bombaiwalli" in 1941, stated that the Hindi cinema has started with anti-hero concept as a new trend, "the dark heroes have always been there - even in the old days". He said.

"I recall a movie, 'Amar', in which Dilip Kumar rapes a girl played by Nimmi and then marries her. But the movie flopped because it was ahead of its time...Now heroes like Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt play villains and negative characters. Rishi Kapoor plays a bad man in 'Agneepath'," Patel said.

"But heroines are reluctant to play mothers. After 35-40 years, they are past their prime and it's over for them," Patel said.The trend of Indian cinema has entirely different from those 30-40 years ago. Present movies music is not as good as that of the golden era of Indian movies in the 1950s.

"I miss the good actors," Patel said.

"From 1931, when sound was introduced in cinema, till 1952, they shot movies with the same camera because during the Nehru era, they could not import anything. Indians have a tradition for repairing everything. But now they are technically superior. Films like 'Peepli Live' and 'Dhobi Ghat...' are as good as anything made in Hollywood," he said.

He said "his three favourite movies in the recent times include 'Delhi Belly', 'Peepli Live' and 'Dev D'".

Patel stated "the 1970s and 1980s were terrible decades for Hindi cinema". The films were uniformly bad at that time, he said.

"Cinema halls built 50 or so years earlier had decayed, with rats taking over...Amitabh Bachchan played the angry young man while Dharmendra's favourite phrase seemed to be 'kutte kamine'," he said.

There was a lot of fisticuffs, very little by way of plots; Bappi Lahiri was a successful music director, he said. "Need I say more? As a result, the middle class gave up going to the theatres and watched pirated videos of foreign films at home," he said.

Bollywood has been "up and running again for a few years now...the multiplexes that have come up have comfortable seats and there is no shortage of screens", he said.

The book, "Bollywood's Top 20: Superstars of Indian Cinema", has been published by Penguin India and is divided into 20 chapters, covering the eminent actors of all era of Indian cinema including "K.L. Saigal, Devika Rani, Ashok Kumar, Nargis, Suraiya, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Shammi Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Hema Malini, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Kareena Kapoor" written by some of the best contemporary writers on cinema.

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