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While Hollywood Aces Disaster Films, Why Indian Cinema Continues to Lack Budget and Appetite for the Genre

21 April 2020

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While Hollywood Aces Disaster Films, Why Indian Cinema Continues to Lack Budget and Appetite for the Genre

In the early days of the lockdown, when we took a break from googling ‘novel coronavirus’, completed our hand hygiene routines and domestic chores, many of us revisited Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. In this 2011 thriller, a group of medical professionals are desperately working to find a cure for a raging and highly contagious virus.

Over the next few days the internet was flooded with lists of suggested viewing. A new vocabulary was founded around these films: infectious disease movies, pandemic films, plague and virus outbreak movies, medical disasters, apocalyptic, doomsday, end of days, worst case scenario and disease thrillers. Clearly, that’s a lot of descriptors for a sub-genre of action movies.

Hollywood films on these subjects have largely been successful, perhaps because the scariest, most disturbing ones closely mirror reality. The possibility of a race against time to save humanity — to find a vaccine to combat a virus infecting the entire world, or a lockdown in which human beings lose all sense of calm and compassion — is plausible.

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Imade credit: Contagion Film Still

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