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  • Utkarsh Masand

Idea #37 -Indian Parallel Cinema

“Somehow I feel that an ordinary person- the man in the street if you like- is a more challenging subject for exploration than people in the heroic mould.” - Satyajit Ray

Bollywood, more often than not, has been an escapist experience, serving us stories with glamourised plots and showing us the fantasy we want. However, somewhere down the line, we forget to appreciate films that imitate life to its core, showing us the reality we all live in.

So today we watched Udaan & The Parallel Cinema in India and studied a detailed breakdown of the film. Udaan, being a film grounded in reality with no exaggerated plot or theatrics, was one of the films released during the resurgence of the Indian Parallel Cinema Movement, paving the way for more movies along the lines of ordinary lives and realism. We also learned of Aristotle’s Theory of Mimesis that cites that art must reflect life.

From analysing the subtle symbols and motifs to studying the significance of the names of the characters and why they are named as they are, we dug out deeper, more nuanced meanings and intentions behind every scene.

Having discussed the Indian Parallel Cinema Movement, we could not have possibly missed out on one of the most widely known and critically acclaimed pioneers of the movement, Satyajit Ray. So we revisited his short film, Two, a story about two little boys, one rich but caged, the other poor but free. It is a simple tale that shows the disparity between the rich and the poor on the surface, but deeper in the layers, one that goes as far as portraying the essence of the American-Vietnam War; so rich is Satyajit Ray’s filmography in all its mundanity.


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