Cinema Marte Dum Tak Review: Vasan Bala & co. take the blanket of judgements off B-Grade films in a hard-hitting yet fun docu-series


Show: Cinema Marte Dum Tak

Created by: Vasan Bala

Director(s):Disha Rindani, Xulfee, Kulish Kant Thakur

Cast: J Neelam, Vinod Talwar, Dilip Gulati, Kishan Shah

OTT: Amazon Prime Video

If you speak of Vasan Bala's work, it goes without saying that he, like most cinema lovers, is an ardent fan of the good old desi dramas that offered nothing but pure entertainment. Once again, he paid an ode to Hindi cinema and filmmakers who were like lost gems over the years. Through Amazon Prime Video's unscripted docu-series titled Cinema Marte Dum Tak, Vasan has reintroduced directors who were famous for making the so-called B-Grade and C-Grade films in the early '80s, '90s, and even in the 2000s. 

Cinema Marte Dum Tak, a six-episode docu-series, brings J Neelam, Vinod Talwar, Dilip Gulati and Kishan Shah into the limelight once again. After several decades of being inactive as filmmakers, they're encouraged to make short films exactly the way they created their films in their active years. All of this is documented through Vasan and his cameramen's lens. Jungle Girl (Dilip), Blood Suckers (Vinod), Sautan Bani Chudail (Kishan) and Shanti Basera (Neelam) are the titles of their films. Right from auditioning and selecting the cast to location recce, pre-production and the output, J Neelam, Vinod Talwar, Dilip Gulati and Kishan Shah relive the experience of cinema-making after enough struggles due to unemployment. 


The docu-series hits home due to its relevance and perfect timing. At a time when Hindi cinema in particular is the target of trolls of revealing clothes and sensuous songs, Cinema Marte Dum Tak plays the role of a catalyst in destigmatising bold content through the eyes of these veteran filmmakers. It also makes the audience realise that such content was heavily and widely consumed in the yesteryear and acted like a foundation stone for commercial, massy and masala Hindi films. 

Cinema Marte Dum Tak presents J Neelam, Vinod Talwar, Dilip Gulati and Kishan Shah in their most vulnerable, real and comfortable zone. Primarily shot at their residences and shoot locations, the show delves deeper into their lives. Unapologetically, these filmmakers own their work and make a place for themselves in our hearts. Cameos by Rakhi Sawant, Shiva Rindani, Raza Murad, Harish Patel, Hemant Birje and Arjun Kapoor add a sentimental and humour quotient to the docu-series.


When it comes to documenting the lives of veteran filmmakers, all you can expect is unfiltered and honest confessions. In one of the episodes, Rakhi Sawant, at her hilarious and honest best, says young actresses who were rejected by big filmmakers were forced to act in sleazy films to earn their livelihood. She also says, "People loved watching women doing ooh and aah." And she's not to be blamed. In fact, the series takes off the blanket of judgements that wrapped these films due to the disdain shown by filmmakers. 

The term 'bits' has been mentioned in the series which is nothing but pornographic clips. They are attached to films only after receiving the censorship certificate to avoid cuts. This was something people, especially the masses, enjoyed watching the most. If you felt who watched such content, Cinema Marte Dum Tak educates you on how the audience would schedule their work to watch those five-six sex scenes in theatres. They would note down the time the scene would appear on the screen and return to cinema halls just in time to not miss it. 

Now, in the era of films flopping even after minting 100-200 crores, these so-called B-Grade and C-Grade films would go houseful. All of this with low ticket prices and minimum marketing. Cinema Marte Dum Tak traces the lives of the four filmmakers who were once the busiest. From making heavy profits to not finding distributors for their films, the series touches upon the darker phase of their lives sensitively and humorously too. While the new generation of cinema watchers call these films cheap and sleazy, they played an important role in providing livelihood to many technicians and artists. 

As unfiltered as it gets, Cinema Marte Dum Tak also offers a sneak peek into the personal space of Neelam, Vinod, Dilip and Kishan. The highlight of the show remains to be Kanti Shah and Kishan's brotherly rivalry. While Kanti was a big name, Kishan, though the elder brother, remained a few steps behind him. The gentle touch of insecurity and loneliness can be felt through their stories. The final two episodes are at the peak on the emotional scale. 

The entire picturisation of Cinema Marte Dum Tak is top-class. You never feel distanced from the filmmakers. Directors Disha Rindani, Xulfee and Kulish Kant Thakur keep it as real and unapologetic as possible. The best thing is it doesn't justify and glorify those films and neither does it overly empathize with the filmmakers for never getting the dues they deserved. The show is indeed one-of-its-kind but after a point, repetitiveness seeps in. 

With humour on point and an in-depth peep into the classic cinema most Indians grew up watching, Cinema Marte Dum Tak cannot be missed. Take a dive into the world of films with Vasan and his team. Oh, and of course for the catchy Pseudo Saiyaan song! 

PeepingMoon gives Cinema Marte Dum Tak 3.5 Moons