Dearie me. Out of sheer curiousity, I opted to glance at the date on which I last posted on this journal and it just happens to be one whole year ago. Two-year film courses are rather time-consuming. While the holidays are still ongoing, I shall take the opporchancity to make mention of the most news-worthy item Bollywood’s now-struggling industry has spluttered out in 2010 - that being the full-blown arrival of Blu-ray to Indian film releases.
It’s truly a treat to witness India’s movie output receive a more worthy treatment on a home video format which it has thus far failed to achieve (DVD now being an inexorably useless way of viewing Bollywood films with any thought given to quality). Such detail, clarity and crisp motion not before seen outside of a cinema can finally be enjoyed watching a Hindi film. This being Bollywood though, screw-ups were inevitable. While many Blu-ray discs offer outstanding quality, others do not - marred as they are by out-of-sync audio, botched brightness levels, waxy noise reduction (an annoyance even certain Hollywood Blu-rays are plagued with) and that old favourite: nonsense subtitles. Here is a choice selection of 10 recommended films currently on Blu-ray that have been given a reasonably high standard presention:
The Blue Umbrella, Dil Bole Hadippa, Dil To Pagal Hai, Dilwale Dulhanie Le Jayenge, Guru, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Jodhaa Akbar (UTV), Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Om Shanti Om, Taare Zameen Par
Sadly, equally as good movies are also available in less-than-stellar quality. Avoid the following 10 mucked-up discs:
Chak De India, Cheeni Kum, Devdas, Dil Chahta Hai, Fanaa, Jodhaa Akbar (Big Home Video), Kabhi Kabhie, Silsila, Swades, Tere Naam
Many more high quality discs are on sale, however the films themselves are less exceptional. Unless lots and lots of Akshay Kumar movies are your thing. Fans of Tamil cinema will also be chuffed to hear that 99% of the Blu-ray releases from distributer Ayngaran are of tremendous quality - though subtitles are, as ever, problematic.
Next week: More YouTube song clips. They’re easy to post!