Author: Neha Shah

Indian Cinema’s Dialogue With Neorealism: Creating Something Different Than Bollywood

From the start of Indian cinema, the Hindi language films have been popular and commercial which was influenced by Hollywood. Later on, the Hindi industry was called Bollywood because of its ties to Hollywood and it being dominant in the city of Bombay. Bollywood films followed a classic narrative similar to Hollywood. In the 1950s, Indian directors like Satyajit Ray wanted to make “real” films that depicted the life of everyday Indians post-independence instead of the popular films (Bollywood) that were dominating Indian cinema. Ray was inspired by the Italian Neorealism movement that took place in post-World War II Italy between 1945 and 1951.[i] The movies that were released during this time were realistic as they mainly portrayed working class people and their struggles during post war times. Even though the films are realistic, they are still fiction films and not documentaries. In Film History, David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson note that the neorealism movement “did create a distinct approach to fictional filmmaking.”[ii] Ray’s debut film, Pather Panchali (1955), also uses the practices of neorealist …