Art films and Parallel cinema are what have given Bollywood a unique identity. Non-mainstream films are not exceedingly popular with the masses in India, but there is no denying the acting prowess of actors and actresses in art films and parallel cinema is at another level. This article is a showcase of the best Bollywood actors in the realms of art films and parallel cinema.
Since the black and white era, the Hindi film industry in India has showcased offbeat movies in an impeccable manner. Unlike commercial films, art films are seldom promoted. Typically art film and parallel cinema directors have to work with low budgets. Production cost on art movies and movies in the parallel cinema category are very low. Hence the money the goes making art movies needs to be utilized carefully. It is no easy task to make films with an excessively low budget, and what’s noteworthy is many offbeat Bollywood movies that have been made with low budgets have gone onto become a roaring success.
Art films and parallel cinema are not made for mass appeal, and are often aimed at a niche market. Elements that are unconventional are symbolic in a broad sense to art films. Characters portrayed in parallel cinema and art films often bring to life surrealistic themes.
Parallel cinema art films in Bollywood are often showcased at film festivals. At many international film festivals art films and parallel cinema from India have received praise from critics. While Bollywood art movies do not have a huge following among people in India and the subcontinent, the same are insanely popular with global movie audiences. While parallel cinema was prevalent since the 1940s, the roots of parallel cinema took shape in the 1950s in Bengal, India.
The parallel cinema movement was started by Bengali cinema with filmmakers such as Tapan Sinha, Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen, these stalwarts were the pioneering forces. Later on parallel cinema became popular with other film industries in India including Bollywood. Art films from India have done exceptionally well at the Cannes Film Festival. At the first Cannes Film Festival in 1946, Hindi Film Neecha Nagar directed by Chetan Anand won the Grand Prize. The movie paved the way for directors in art films and parallel cinema in India. As investment costs are small, art films have been always been promoted independently at National Film festivals.
While art movies have stayed away from mainstream, a number of Bollywood art movies have become insanely popular in mainstream circles. One could attribute the fact that art films and parallel cinema have become popular with mainstream audiences because of actors from these genres moving to commercial cinema. Many established Bollywood actors and actresses have started their careers with art films before moving to mainstream movie genres.
In recent years the box office demand in commercial movies seems to have affected parallel cinema. With low investment costs in parallel cinema and art films, movie directors are finding it difficult to keep the flag waving, and many filmmakers have moved to commercial genres to ensure a steady flow of income. However, art films and parallel cinema will continue to emerge in this commercial era of Bollywood movies, and one can hope the days of glory make a comeback.
The list below is a showcase of the finest actors and actresses that have made a significant contribution in the realms of art movies and parallel cinema. Mentioned in brackets is a movie in which the actor/actress showcased a stellar performance.
50 Greatest Bollywood Actors in Art Films and Parallel Cinema
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