Bollywood: In 2014, India sent the Mangalyaan mission into space and became the first country to send a satellite into the planet’s orbit in its first attempt – putting its much richer regional rival China in the shadows as it became the first Asian nation to reach the red world Has been made. The project was notable under the leadership of a team of women scientists; As India’s second lunar probe, Chandrayaan-2 (from Sanskrit “lunar craft,” which was launched last month and is due to land on the moon in early September. And as the country itself is considered a space power, Indians have developed a hunger for sci-fi themes in their cinema.
The patriotic spirit after the Mars mission gives the latest example of Indian space cinema: Mission Mangal (Sanskrit for Mars), a fictional description of the orbiter mission. Starring and produced by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, it is slated to release on August 15, India’s Independence Day. Kumar says, “I will follow the news about India’s space mission and be proud of what we are achieving.” But through Mission Mars, I think you can say that I am an Insider’s perspective. “
Kumar, one of the world’s highest-paid actors, says he has long wanted to work with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Acting in a film about Mangalyaan (“Mars Craft”) required him to take a crash course in astrophysics. Kumar says, “Now how much effort and planning I am making to carry out a space mission successfully and my respect for all the scientists and engineers working on these missions has increased immensely.
Sci-Fi is not a new genre in Indian cinema, but this profile is nothing like it is in the West. It established itself only after liberalizing the country’s economy in the 1990s, allowing the entry of satellite channels and foreign films, as well as studios such as Disney and Warner in Bollywood production. Before then, what little superhero was involved, there consisted mostly of low budget rentals. The most significant success of 2003 was Koi… Mil Gaya (Someone Found), an ET: Extra-Terrestrial Rip-off in which Hrithik Roshan is healed from his intellectual disability – in his 20s, he still graduated from an elementary school Is not – a blue alien she befriends with the magic touch, which transforms her into a muscular high school sports star, girl magnet and math genius. Possibly with the crassest portrayal of an adult with a learning disability one could ever see, Koi … Gosh, Roshan’s breakthrough performance made him a star and awarded him the National Filmfare Award.
Fortunately, sci-fi has shifted at a great deal since, given India’s greater exposure to foreign films. “Indian audiences have reacted enthusiastically to space and sci-fi films such as the Star Wars series or Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.” Unfortunately, it is a genre that has not been explored in Bollywood, says Kumar.
One reason for this could be the 2008 box office failure of Love Story 2050. A frenzied time travel film, it broke India’s film budget records, but its mix of crazy Max futurism, slushy romance and traditional Bollywood song and dance routines was a flop.
While Hollywood has a long tradition of making more naturalistic films about space travel – since 2001: a space odyssey, for Gravity and the First Man – it is only now, with massive progress in India’s space exploration, that such films Public are starting to resonate with. Kumar says, “it’s about time” because it is a genre of film that appeals to people of all age groups. It encourages people to expand their vision and their ideas, and honestly believe that even the impossible can be possible. Surprisingly, mainstream filmmakers in India have not embraced the genre as much as we should. There is undoubtedly so much potential.
Then, last year Kumar played the villain in 2.0, a Tamil-language thriller about Chennai’s mobile phone going brazenly and arranging itself to destroy the city – a bit like a Vodafone version of birds. Allegedly with a budget of $ 76m – costing more than ISRO’s entire mission to Mars – it was a visual rollercoaster and a huge commercial success.
Another critical factor in the last decade has been the boom in India’s visual effects industry – which Hollywood outsources much of its special effects – that is capable of producing high-quality films. While Koi… Mil Gaya showed like a trashy 80s TV show, and it spawned a superhero franchise, starring Krrish, Roshan. The fourth installment is released next year, and each film has demonstrated a significant step forward in Bollywood’s use of CGI (as well as Roshan’s acting ability).
With these high profile missions to the moon and Mars, sci-fi is set to become a Bollywood staple. “The Indian audience, particularly the youth segment, now constantly seeks newer themes and stories,” says Vikram Malhotra, CEO of Abundantia Entertainment, one of India’s biggest production corporations. “There has been so much talk and discussion about India’s space programs and the achievements of our experts that even the normal man now needs to know more about this fascinating world. And on the big screen.”
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