The seventies was a notorious decade in Indian cinema, both parallel and mainstream- as the permissiveness of American cinema had started showing its influence. And fortunately, it was also the period when cinema was taken most seriously and for the good. Atleast the young viewers must not let this era fade away from cellulose.
Kumar Shahani, along with John Abraham, Mani Kaul and M. S. Sathyu belong to the category of the rarely discussed group of filmmakers. Firstly, they are devoid of home video releases for most of their works. Secondly, they find no widespread public screenings or film fest retrospectives within the country to generate interest. What is even worse is that they don’t even make their way into the world of file sharing and peer-to-peer networks.
With the original negatives of their films facing the risk of extinction, one can only hope that institutions like the World Cinema Foundation will do something about it. The earliest parallel Indian films like Kumar Shahani’s Maya Darpan are the best takes on social issues of their times, as well as innovative attempts to seek out new aesthetics. Each of these films had their own charm. Given a chance, which Indian intellectual won’t admire John Abraham’s revolutionary overtones?