April Links: Marathi and Korean cinema, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, FilmBay and more.

One of the silver linings of being lazy and not updating links for … umm, forever, is that it gives you a sense of just how fleeting some of our excitement is. For instance, back in April, so many were eagerly anticipating FilmBay. It’s barely a blip in popular memory today. I wrote this back when FilmBay was announced.

My reviews of Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, Dharam Sankat Mein, Margarita With a Straw, O Kadhal Kanmani and The Age of Ultron.

There was a little bit chest-beating when the Maharashtra government said that multiplexes must show Marathi films at prime time slots. It wasn’t a new move and it may actually have helped Marathi cinema. This was a look at the attempts to promote Marathi cinema in comparison to the South Korean campaign to popularise Korean cinema.

“The Maharashtra government seems to think that by opening up one prime time slot, it has done its bit to help the Marathi film industry. However, it takes a lot more, both in terms of money as well as creative support. Ask the producer of any big-budget film that has flopped and they will tell that not all the prime-time shows in multiplexes can assure anyone of a hit.

It’s worth keeping in mind that quotas still exist for films in South Korean, but they’re widely regarded as unnecessary now. Filmmakers embraced the freedom given to them and made films that were sometimes gory and sometimes as melodramatic and saccharine as the average Bollywood blockbuster. Exposed to both Hollywood, arty Korean cinema and pop Korean movies, the audiences have lapped it all up and cheered for local content. Kim Dong-ho says in The Birth of Korean Cool, “Frankly speaking, this quota system has no meaning because now the market share of Korean films has reached 50 to 60 percent. So even if they eliminated the quotas, it would not harm the Korean film industry.”

Can the Maharashtra government genuinely promote entertainment and culture in the state to reach a point where regional cinema doesn’t need crutches like a government order to multiplexes in order to stand on its own feet? As long as there isn’t freedom to create and there is the scare of government censorship, it seems unlikely.”

And the month ended with the Minister of State for Home making this prononouncement: “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors… .” A sputterance followed, naturally.

“No one can force India’s politicians, judges or anyone else to open their eyes to the reality of marital rape. However, people like Chaudhary should keep in mind that marriage as an institution is changing rapidly in India. Ironically enough, those changes are being effected by some of the very factors Chaudhary listed. Only, they’re contributing to dismantling and de-institutionalising marriage.

…Studies suggest that this imbalance is more likely to lead to rising violent crime — often against women — as well as theft. For instance in China, which has as skewed a sex ratio as India, abduction of women is becoming more and more common. The big change predicted for India and China is that marriage will no longer be “universal”, which means the vast majority of the population will not be married.”

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