What does the term ‘Popular’ or ‘pop’ mean?
It means nothing but a piece of art, i.e., Music, Cinema, etc., that has a mass appeal over a large section of the population and has a handsome audience.
Since we are talking about Popular Cinema today, I intend on covering a few aspects that denote what a popular film is and how it affects the audience with a little bit of history. Since the time The Lumiere Brothers introduced the art of Cinema to the oblivious audience, the whole idea that images can move on a 2D plane, were intriguing to them. As more and more directors picked up the art and started creating their content, they wanted to showcase their work amongst a wide range of audience expecting the most natural thing for any artist to ask, i.e., appreciation. As time went by and technology improved, the Art of cinema started outspreading since the people behind the funding process(yes the most important part) understood the fact that they could make money out of people by circulating their products well. Hence, in the process, they eventually gave the audience the taste of blood and there was no looking back.
That which started as a simple form of moving pictures displayed at a rate of 16 frames per second eventually went on to become a multi-million dollar industry which was fuelled by the urge of the audience to devour increasing number of films. Although not all films were accepted with open arms by the audience, the few films which went on to become favourites were viewed by a large chunk of viewers and hence became the Popular Films. As time went by, the audience started having their favourite stars and the films adapted their method of acting to incorporate in the story and those went on to become popular films.
In context of Indian Cinema, popular films have always been part of a mass culture since in 1940s when the Golden Era of Bollywood just got started with all kinds of filmmakers and actors trying out on different films. This went on to provide the most important cult film of all times in Indian Panorama - Sholay. Sholay stirred the emotions, whipped of melodramatic screenwriting, and introduced dialogues which are till date famous and ingrained within the population of the sub-continent. It gave relevance to friendships, to good & bad, to leadership and failure, multi-pronged love equation and to changing space and time and creating a riveting experience which was one of a kind. Technologically, it was shot in 70mm large format Technicolor Camera which was quite ahead of its time. The film reached to the nook and crannies of not only India but also the neighbouring countries and created a stir which was and continues to be unfathomable for a piece of Art to achieve. I bet the Lumiere Brothers never thought for it could go over the top! Sholay is still one of the best examples to show what a popular cinema is, how it comes off the screen and diffuses with the general audience and creates a ‘larger than life’ experience.
Popular Cinema creates a different world for the audience to live and breathe in.
Student of Masters in Television and Film Production,
Co-founder of N-Clicks Studio