Indian Art Films: A Cultural Narrative

By: Niranjana Naveen

Some time back, during a discussion about a recently released film, a friend commented, “Well, what’s the difference between this and an art film then?” It got me pondering, “Well, what is the distinction by which you separate the two variants of the same art form?”
Art films have been deemed so for their realism, emphasis on character building, and narration techniques. The art film industry that we see today is the consequential outcome of the New Indian or Parallel Cinema, an alternative to the commercial film industry, the likes of which began in West Bengal in the 1950s by legendary filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Bimal Roy, and Mrinal Sen, among others. The wave of art film began with the idea of having mainstream media represent the socio-economic climate of the time and send out a provocative message to the audience, which often gets lost in the process of making the film entertaining for commercial purposes. Despite that, there have been multiple art films that have gone on to achieve critical as well as commercial success.
Similar to this, the Soviet Union has had its share of “Parallel Cinema,” where bold thoughts and societal messages were channeled into amateur films such as “A Revolutionary Sketch” of 1987 and “Boris and Gleb” of 1988.
Indian art films, till this day, continue to garner global acclaim and numerous awards at major film festivals due to their distinctness in nuanced writing and layered performances. After all, art is timeless, and the themes are universal.


This blog page serves as a platform for the Editorial department of The Hindu Education Plus Club at VIT Vellore. We provide opportunities to budding authors across campus to hone their writing skills. We publish blogs four times a week, where writers can communicate their views on any topic of their choice with our readers.

3 thoughts on “Indian Art Films: A Cultural Narrative

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *