If you follow Indian cinema in recent times- you would find that it is more desperate than Mallika Sherawat to get the “international” tag.
This lust for the “international” tag is evident with every meaningless script shot in South Africa, England, Malaysia, Australia, and of course, USA. The tourism department of each of these countries gets richer after every Bollywood flick made there (and every IPL played there). Though all this helps in attracting viewers from India and that respective country, it takes the “quality of film-making”nowhere. Ironically, most of the times, the foreign locations are just done for the sake of it, the story is not in sync with the locations and the locations are not in sync with the story.
What we claim here is shooting films abroad, just for the sake of it would make no sense until your screenplay really wants it there. If international acclaim and recognition is what you desire, then there is certainly no meaning in writing scripts in India with the Indian mindset and then shooting them in Cape Town or Sydney. Indian writers are in most situations not able to handle the story line in a foreign land and invariably always end up creating a “hypothetical Sydney” and “hypothetical Toronto” where everyone from the taxi driver to the bartender to the cop to the lawyer and to the judge even, is Indian! Most films have foreign locations and a complete Indian cast. They throw in some whites and blacks in between the browns to “make it look like Sydney” (even when they are actually shooting there!)
Some films in recent times though (Kites, My Name is Khan) tried to avoid this glitch by giving substantial roles to foreign artists. What it turned out was almost all of them were such pathetic junior artistes that even Uday Chopra started developing a superiority complex.
Filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ashutosh Gowariker, Guru Dutt, Deepa Mehta and others who got great international acclaim were/are essentially ‘local’ when it came/comes to their screenplay. Martin Scorsese loves the Apu Trilogy not just because of Ray’s directional genius, but also because it opened the door to a great culture for him. If the art we create does not portray our society and our country as it is, we can never open doors like Ray did, and thus never get the “international” tag. If Lagaan was just another cricket match, it would not feature in ‘UK’s 50 Films you must see before you die’ list. It featured there as it talked about the ‘Indian’ society at a particular crucial timeline. If Swades would not be based in India it wouldn’t make it at #26 in the IMDb’s ’Top 50 in the previous decade’ list. And so on…You can find any Indian film that has made us proud on the international stage and you will know it has done so because it was truly an ‘Indian’ film and not a commercial cocktail of cultures.
Commercial filmmakers in our country do not wish to comprehend their films as art as they are afraid that the mass will view it as an ‘Art’ Film. No matter what they think, we should not forget that though the film ‘business’ is a field of commerce, film ‘making’ is essentially a field of art- be it an “Art” Film or not! And art is what collectively speaks about the dynamics of the culture of the region it is developed at a particular point in the timeline. So what the fuck would the future evaluate our current society as- if we kept making such films? Food for thought I say. Amen