The Burden of Realism

How deep is it necessary for an artist to know the milieu that informs his work? The answer is obvious. Otherwise how would he do justice to his creation? The work wouldn’t ring true, the characters would be facile, conflicts superficial, the settings inauthentic, and the assertions grow more persuasive with examples ranging from Ray — that master of realist cinema whose films inspired a movement from the late 60s which erroneously, and sometimes derogatively came to be known as ‘art films’, to contemporary Hindi cinema which is becoming more and more realistic.

There is definitely a lot of meat in the argument as a spate of films emerging from Mumbai in recent years would bear witness to. A random assessment of films such as Khosla Ka Ghosla, Vicky Donor or BA Pass — all set in Delhi, or Udaan, set in Jamshedpur, or Ship of Theseus which explores different facets

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