Early in my life, when I was beginning to read about "art movies" that I didn't get to watch, I read in the news that a Tamil movie had won the national award for the best Tamil film: Agraharathil Kazhutai (A donkey in a Brahmin street/ghetto.)
Commentaries were written in plenty about the movie, and plenty of people were upset too. But, it was never screened anywhere for me to watch it.
Wikipedia reminds me that the movie was banned in Tamil Nadu, and that the government television channel, which was the only one that India had for years, was forced to cancel a scheduled telecast.
To date, I haven't watched the award-winning movie!
Years have gone by since. Heck, it has been four decades and more. Now in America, I watched an Indian movie, Umrika, that has never been shown in India!
Why it has not been screened in India is beyond me! After all, it is not anti-Modi, or anti-Hindu or anything along those lines that might hurt the strongman's vanity. Umrika is not poverty porn, as was the case in Slumdog Millionaire. The movie didn't explore same-sex relationships that Fire was about. Yet, Umrika was not shown in India?
Throughout the movie, an actor playing one of the characters reminded me of an old time Hindi actor. Wiki helped me track him down: Prateik Babbar. He is the son of son of late actress Smita Patil and actor Raj Babbar.
Smita Patil was very much part of the art movie world of the India of my time. I remember her in Satyajit Ray's Sadgati. Patil and Shabana Azmi in Hindi, and Shoba in Tamil made characters come alive even on the tiny black-and-white television screen. A tragedy that Shoba and Patil died young :(
Over the years, much to my disappointment, the creative arts have taken a dive in the old country. Carnatic music performances have become bhajan sessions. Books are rarely read and discussed. There is pretty much no audience for live theatre; people are happy with the cheap entertainment that is offered when cricket is not available. Movies are formulaic.
Umrika was a pleasant surprise.
Maybe someday I will even get to watch Agraharathil Kazhutai?