While Korea was getting ready to welcome the coming spring, another surprise guest arrived in the form of the “2012 Indian Film Festival.” The Indian Film Festival (IFF) is an annual event organized by the Embassy of India in Seoul with the help of CJ’s CGV and is supported by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of India. Every year the IFF screens a collection of the best six movies from India. The 2012 IFF was held in both Seoul and Busan. It was held from February 24 to 26 in Seoul and from March 1 to 6 in Busan. Each film was screened twice for the benefit of the audience.
Most of the movies that have been screened this year have tasted high commercial success and were also critically acclaimed, and the movie Chak De! India clearly represents this. Starring Shahrukh Khan (of the My Name is Khan fame), this movie is about the rise from obscurity of the India Women’s National Field Hockey Team to become world champions. This movie was not only highly acclaimed but also successful commercially. Personally I feel that this was one of the best movies India has ever produced.
Something unique about the 2012 IFF was that some of the movies screened were of historical significance. The movie Jodhaa Akbar depicted the love story of Akbar, one of the greatest emperors that India has ever had, and Jodhaa. The movie was well directed and left the audience in awe by showing how rich, happy and prosperous the people of India were in the old days.
Other movies that were screened include Taare Zameen Par, Paa, Wake Up Sid and I am Kalam. The spectrum of the movies is very large, ranging from the story of a spoiled, rich kid who is taught the meaning of life from a college girl to and at the same time the story of the life and imagination of an eight-year-old child. Although Korea is not one of the usual markets for exporting Indian movies, there is a small Korean audience that enjoys watching Indian movies, sometimes being even more updated than the Indians living in Korea.
It was a joy watching Indian movies here in Korea with the local people, and I was amused by their enthusiasm. Though perhaps not in the immediate future, Korea surely can become one of the main markets for the exportation of Indian movies. From the 2012 IFF, one can easily say that the support for Indian movies has been increasing over the years. At the same time, the quality of the movies that have been screened over the years has also increased tremendously and have touched the pulse of the Korean audience. Sometimes I feel very happy to watch movies in my native language with foreigners; I believe that these movies help remove cross-cultural misconceptions and misunderstandings. If we consider the total ticket sales per annum, Bollywood, a term that is used to describe the Indian Film Industry, leads even Hollywood by a handsome 38%.
Though native speakers of the Indian language are fewer in number compared to English speakers across the world, the quality and emotions that are filled in Indian movies are taking Bollywood to a higher level, and at the same time the popularity of Bollywood movies is slowly growing worldwide. Bollywood is set to capture the entire world with its dazzling charm.