For the longest time I was frustrated with the “kitschy” and “campy” feel attributed to popular culture in general and South Asian cinema in particular. Everywhere I looked I found a reviewer or a critic lambasting anything and everything that was remotely filmi. Bollywood was bad enough, Lollywood was worse, and all hell broke loose if it was a Punjabi film! And such preconceived notions weren’t relegated to the realm of mainstream journalism, they were repeated ad nauseam at home, in school, by your parents and their minions! In fact, I remember sneaking in Bollywood posters with the help of my aayah because at home anything filmi was synonymous with everything bad. Then, there was the rather one-sided comparison between films and theatre/tele-dramas, with the latter obviously being far better entertainment than any film could ever imagine to be. Tired of these biased, unwarranted, and in many cases elitist critiques of popular culture (and many still exist), I present to you Filmistani Journeys.
Filmistani Journeys is, as the title suggests, a journey through the wonderful world of films. Indian or Pakistani, Hindi, Bengali, or Punjabi, masala or parallel, you’ll find it all here. I see in these films a means to journey into South Asian culture. Now, truth be told, I don’t really need films to understand my own culture because I am well-aware of it, but that is exactly why these films make the journey more interesting and pleasantly surprising. Here you’ll find not only film reviews but cultural commentary tinged with more than a pinch of nostalgia. After all, everything filmi isn’t alway bad.
Wishing you a pleasant journey!