Who makes the best Indian cinema – Bollywood, Southern Indians, Bengalis or NRIs?

The best Indian filmmakers, who truly represent Indian cinema…are they from Bollywood, Southern Indians, Bengalis or NRIs?

  • Bollywood (based in Mumbai/Bombay, Hindi masala movies: Raju Hirani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Yash Chopra)
  • Southern Indians (Tamil Nadu, Telugu, Tollywood/Kollywood masala movies: S.S. Rajamouli, Shankar)
  • Bengalis (Calcutta “art” cinema: Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Buddhadev Dasgupta)
  • Keralites (Karala “art” cinema: Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Padmarajan, Bharathan)
  • NRIs (Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, Gurinder Chadha)

For a long time, people outside Indian felt that Bollywood represented Indian cinema, for many serious/art films meant it was directed by a Bengali director.

While the bigger film industries still stick to their formula-films because they churn out large number of films (Bollywood films focus more on NRIs, shoot at foreign locations, and South Indian films still have over-the-top scenes), things have undergone changes in all the film industries in India.

  • Filmmakers from South of India (Rajamouli and Shankar) are making huge, successful commercial films.
  • NRI’s are also making serious/realistic films now.
  • Marathi films do well than most Hindi films, and so on

Karan Johar who co-presented the Hindi versions of Baahubali 1 & 2 i India, says that Bollywood filmmakers lack the conviction of South Indian films. The Bollywood director/producer was speaking at the Indian School of Business Leadership Summit. Karan also feels that Baahubali is the best Indian film made to date.

Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion | Official Trailer (Hindi) | S.S. Rajamouli

Satyajit Ray’s “Pather Panchali” still gets screened at film festivals around the world, with many considering it to be one of the best film coming out of India.

So the question here is, who do you think makes the cinema that best represents India, that reflects “the real India”, that provides the best Indian experience? Is it the filmmakers from Bollywood, Southern India, Bengal, Kerala, or the NRIs?

Please share your thoughts here!