In the wake of a phenomenon called Avatar, the business of film making seems to be divided into two phases- pre Avatar and post Avatar. Cameron and his vision seem to have set new industry benchmarks and filmmakers want to experiment with virtual movie making.
While the film has its strengths and weaknesses, and has received its share of acclaim and criticism the question I am toying with is – When will India find its film genius who can live with an idea long enough and develop technology to breathe life into it?
The Indian culture has most of the ingredients to make successes such as Avatar. But then surely something is missing? We are great story tellers and have rich stories with colourful characters that are part of our legendary legacy. Decades old movies based on tales out of the Ramayan and the Mahabharat have created alternate worlds which have enthralled generations. We have an audience that has patiently sat through tacky renderings of arrows turning into garlands and bears that talk, while suspending disbelief to accept the improbable as possible. Avatar may inspire cults and lead its audience to madness, our filmstars have been worshipped for decades.
We have the perseverance and faith that will see us all the way through the crests and troughs of our arduous journey. We have dedicated men and women who will stick by each other from beginning to end. The cine world is replete with tales of partnerships which have survived hits and flops, creating wonders with teamwork. What more do we need?
To my mind we need to love technology. We need to develop the creativity to use technology to drive our ideas. We need the vision to stimulate companies or scientists to innovate for us so as to create machines or methods that are path breaking. While we all use technology, we need to develop an understanding and genuinely see it as an extension of our senses, rather than a replacement for them. Indian manufacturers need to spend time with creative professionals and understand their needs. Then, they have to be willing to take the risk. And finally have the patience to wait for the dividends. New experiments in film-making are taking place every day. Actors and filmmakers do not restrict themselves to one genre anymore. Avatars have long been a part of Indian mythology – we gave the word to English language. But we need a reminder that Avatars are born when they are good and ready in response to great faith.