Geeks logo

Parallel Cinema movement in India

A response to the dominance of mainstream Bollywood cinema

By Allwyn Roman WaghelaPublished about a month ago 2 min read

The Parallel Cinema movement in India emerged as a response to the dominance of mainstream Bollywood cinema. Rooted in realism, social commentary, and experimental storytelling, it provided an alternative path to the commercial Indian film industry. Let’s delve into its fascinating history:

Origins and Early Years:

- Parallel Cinema, also known as New Indian Cinema, originated in the state of West Bengal during the 1950s. It served as a counterpoint to the mainstream commercial films.

- Inspired by Italian Neorealism, this movement began just before the French New Wave and Japanese New Wave, acting as a precursor to the Indian New Wave of the 1960s.

- Pioneering Filmmakers: Visionaries like Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha, and others led the way. Their films were marked by serious content, realism, naturalism, and a keen eye on the sociopolitical climate of the times.

- Unlike mainstream Indian cinema, Parallel Cinema rejected the typical inserted song-and-dance routines.

Golden Age and Influence:

- The late 1940s and 1950s are considered the Golden Age of Indian cinema, and this period saw the emergence of Parallel Cinema.

- Filmmakers borrowed heavily from contemporary Indian literature, making their works a reflection of Indian society. These films are now valuable for understanding the changing demographics and socio-economic landscape of the country.

Notable Figures:

- Satyajit Ray, renowned for his Apu Trilogy, explored human emotions and societal struggles.

- Ritwik Ghatak delved into complex characters and psychological depths.

- Bimal Roy, Mrinal Sen, and others contributed significantly to this movement.

- Parallel Cinema extended beyond Bengal and gained prominence in other regions of India.

Legacy and Impact:

- Parallel Cinema left an indelible mark on Indian filmmaking, emphasising substance over spectacle.

- It paved the way for subsequent generations of filmmakers to explore deeper themes and challenge the mainstream Bollywood narrative.

How did it influence contemporary Indian filmmakers?

Narrative Depth and Realism:

- Contemporary filmmakers draw inspiration from the realism and depth of storytelling seen in Parallel Cinema.

- They prioritise substance over spectacle, focusing yon authentic characters, relatable situations, and social issues.

- Films like “Lunchbox” (2013) and “Court” (2014) exemplify this influence, presenting everyday life with honesty and nuance.

Breaking Conventions:

- Parallel Cinema challenged the established norms of mainstream Bollywood.

- Contemporary filmmakers continue to break away from formulaic plots, opting for unconventional narratives and experimental techniques.

- Anurag Kashyap, known for films like “Gangs of Wasseypur”, is a prime example of this trend.

Regional Diversity:

- The movement encouraged filmmakers from various regions of India to explore their unique cultural contexts.

- Contemporary cinema celebrates regional diversity, with directors like Zoya Akhtar (Mumbai), Dibakar Banerjee (Kolkata), and Rima Das (Assam) contributing distinct voices.

Social Commentary:

- Parallel Cinema was unafraid to address societal issues, and contemporary filmmakers continue this tradition.

- Films like “Article 15” (2019) and “Tumhari Sulu” (2017) tackle topics such as caste discrimination and women’s empowerment.

Aesthetic Choices:

- Filmmakers today experiment with cinematography, sound design, and editing, drawing inspiration from the innovative techniques used by Parallel Cinema directors.

- “Ship of Theseus” (2012) by Anand Gandhi exemplifies this blend of aesthetics and substance.

In summary, Parallel Cinema was a powerful artistic movement that enriched Indian cinema by offering thought-provoking narratives and a departure from convention. The legacy of Parallel Cinema reverberates through contemporary Indian cinema, influencing both seasoned and emerging filmmakers alike 🎬🇮🇳


About the Creator

Allwyn Roman Waghela

I am a professional blogger, writing about topics such as travel, food, and lifestyle thus, showcasing my creativity and communication skills.





Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

Add your insights

Comments (2)

Sign in to comment
  • Flamance @ lit.29 days ago

    Interesting story

  • Muraliabout a month ago

    "Parallel Cinema" is the most important moment in the India cinema history.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.