The tussle between parallel and commercial cinema, has existed since the conception of the former. While a commercial Bollywood masala films feints the ‘paisa vasool’ quotient, parallel cinema, with its ephemeral fervour has to manoeuvre a niche.
While popular cinema feeds the entertainment needs of the masses, contemporary on the other hand caters to neo realism. Over the years, the fissure between the two has peacefully co-existed, until parallel cinema offered films like ‘Salaam Bombay‘, ‘Bhindi Bazaar‘, ‘The girl in the yellow boots’, and many more to the masses. With offbeat cinema slowly paving way for itself in the Indian film industry, the faces behind the transition are getting the recognition they deserve.
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Nandita Das can undisputedly be called the uncrowned queen of parallel cinema. She started her acting career with the theatre group Jana Natya Manch, and went on to claim laurels with her performance in films like Fire (1996), Earth (1998), and Bawandar (2000).
Daughter of media tycoon Aroon Purie, Koel has many acclaimed unconventional films in her kitty. ‘The Great Indian Butterfly’, ‘White Noise’, and ‘Mixed Doubles’, remain some of her finest.
Daughter of actress Moon Moon Sen, Raima has given stellar performances in films like Daman, Manorama Six Feet Under, The Japanese Wife and many more. She also has a plethora of regional films to her credit.
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Swara Bhaskar who rose to prominence with her role as Bindiya in Raanjhanaa, began her career with ‘Madholal Keep Walking‘ in 2009. She played promising roles in film like Listen… Amaya, and The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project, which failed to garner much attention.
One of the most stunning actresses in the country, Chitrangada chose to thrive in contemporary cinema itself. Nevertheless, the medium flourished with her. She did films like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, and Kal: Yesterday and Tomorrow, which brought her critical acclaim.
Nimrat Kaur’s performance in Lunchbox was a breakthrough, the film was screened at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. She also starred in Peddlers, an Indian Hindi crime thriller film written and directed by Vasan Bala. The film was screened as part of 2012 International Critics’ Week in France.
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Tisca Chopra, best recognized for her character in Taare Zameen Par, began her career with Platform starring Ajay Devgan in 1993, she eventually moved to more offbeat cinema like, Hyderabad Blues 2, and Mirch.