Take a look at our pick of Bollywood and indie films from the 21st century. Think of 'modern' Bollywood and two films stand out. Both so outrageously different from each other in their subject matter and visual styles that their very utterance in the same breath may sound like an outrage to cinephiles. Hold your horses. They are Satya and Dil Chahta Hai. Don't be surprised if the first person to take offence at that declaration is Ram Gopal Varma himself, Satya's 'lost genius.' And the man who had redefined the grammar of romance way back in the 1990s with Rangeela. But give yourselves a moment to let the comparison sink in. Scratch the surface and they do have a few things in common. Satya practically invented modern Bollywood realism. Set in Bombay's gangster-land, it was, on one level, perhaps more fantasy than reality. According to the maverick RGV, today reduced to being a ghost from the past, Satya's grittiness, starting with the title, was influenced by Govind Nihalani's haunting Ardh Satya. In other words, what Satya did to 'realism' what Farhan Akhtar's Dil Chahta Hai did to urbanism, a game-changing debut that laid the groundwork for every urbane comedy… Read full this story
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