It is believed that technical aspects like haunting and loud background score, editing effects and fast camerawork are a must for edge-of-the-seat thrillers. But Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar winning Iranian film, The Salesman manages to create an enormously thrilling effect just through the use of the script and presentation and leaves you super impressed.
The film tells the story of a married couple, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), who are staying in Iran. They work together in a theatre group. Emad also teaches theatre and performing arts in a college. Suddenly, the building they are staying in starts collapsing. They manage to flee along with other residents.
Obviously, they are frantically searching for a new apartment to shift in. Babak (Babak Karimi), their theatre colleague, helps them find a new place, which was earlier occupied by a mysterious woman. One night, Rana goes to take a shower. When Emad returns home, he is shocked to find her badly wounded on her head. Was it an accident or assault?
The Salesman is an ideal example of getting your basics right. It proves that if you get your basic prerequisites bang on, you don’t need anything else to hook the audience. Not even a background score. In fact, not having any sound in the background is Farhadi’s trademark. Yet he manages to thrill through an ideal combination of an interesting story, watertight screenplay and brilliant execution.
The film doesn’t start off as a thriller by any means. It seems like a simple drama. But Farhadi has brought in the thriller effect slowly as the story progresses without you even noticing it. The effect keeps on increasing with the passing time. In other words, you don’t realize when you shift to the edge of the seat. Along with providing thrill, the climax also says a lot without saying anything.
Like the content and treatment, the characters too are simple, everyday people faced with extraordinary circumstances. The film shows that even the most ordinary and random person in a large crowd can be living a complicated tale.
The film does have few areas of concern though. The incident of building collapse doesn’t get with the rest of the film. Its magnanimity makes you think about it long after it has passed, which wasn’t needed. There is also one questionable moment in the last 20 minutes or so.
Hossein Jafarian’s camerawork gels with the nature of the film. It’s simple yet effective.
The performances match up to the numerous plus points. Shahab Hosseini beautifully succeeds in playing man possessed with a lot of questions. But he also manages to underplay himself, which was needed and would have been very difficult for most actors. Taraneh Alidoosti portrays various emotions with precision. She too wonderfully succeeds in speaking through expressions.
Farid Sajjadi Hosseini enters only in the last 30 minutes or so but leaves a terrific impact with his brilliance. Babak Karimi, Mina Sadati, as Sanam, Maral Bani Adam, as Kati, and the rest of the supporting actors leave no scope for complain.
Overall: The Salesman is an outstanding thrilling drama. The film is a must watch for anyone who wishes to enjoy something meaningful as well as riveting. Its appeal is universal. It's releasing in India on 31 March 2017. The positive word-of-mouth might help the film earn decent collections at the box office.
Review by: Keyur Seta
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Producers: Memento Films Production, Asghar Farhadi Produdction and Arte France Cinema
Cast: Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti, Farid Sajjadi Hosseini, Mina Sadati, Maral Bani Adam
Music: Sattar Oraki
Genre: Drama/ Thriller
Runtime: 125 minutes
India release: 31 March 2017
S S Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Conclusion, also known as Baahubali 2, is around a month away from its release. It would be an understatement to say that there is high excitement for the film. There has hardly, if not never, been such high degree of eagerness for a film all over India.
The Prabhas and Rana Daggubati starrer will be releasing in a whopping 6500 screens in the country. This is the highest for a film in India. Hence, the film is predicted to amass the highest box office collections ever (at least till the time Robot 2.0 releases).
In fact, the eagerness is such that, God forbid, even if the film doesn’t turn out to be that impressive, it won’t be wrong to make a prediction that its business will still be big.
Let’s face it. The only thing that has united Indians all these decades has been cricket, whether you like it or not. But this is the first time that such a feat has been achieved by a film, at least in my lifetime. I have never seen a film bonding the whole of India like Bahaubali has. The fact that it is releasing in such huge number of screens is a proof of that.
So much so, that most of us either seem to have forgotten or are not bothered that its original language is Telugu and Tamil. (‘south Indian’ for many). Normally, one would expect a Hindi film to achieve such feat. But nobody is complaining.
Another proof of its extreme excitement is the number of views to its Hindi trailer. In just 11 days, it has garnered more than 3 crore 65 lakh views (only the Hindi trailer). On the other hand, Badrinath Ki Dulhania, a hardcore Hindi film with big stars like Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan, has managed 2 crore 81 lakh views in almost two months. Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees has been viewed just over 5 crore times in a long period of almost four months.
This speaks about the film’s pan India interest. On a lighter note, people from all over India are eager to find out why Katappa killed Baahubali. The social media is full of funny memes or posts asking this question. Seriously, how many of us ever expected a non-Hindi film to create such a scenario?
What it has indirectly shown is the power of regional cinema. The same happened last year with the Marathi movie Sairat. The film also found takers outside Maharashtra, something never achieved before by a Marathi film. This is also a wake-up call for those who shy away from watching a regional film saying it won’t interest them. If a film is high in appeal, it will cross state boundaries in India.
Like Baahubali 2 has. It’s neither a Telugu/ Tamil nor a south Indian film.
It’s an Indian film… Jai Mahishmati!
By: Keyur Seta
Hindi trailer of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion:
Badrinath Ki Dulhania is a light-hearted romantic comedy. Films of this genre generally follow the same pattern all over the world. A boy and a girl meet, fall in love, get separated in due to some issue and reunite in the climax. But the Shashank Khaitan written and directed film goes further ahead by tackling a hard-hitting issue successfully while keeping the film thoroughly entertaining.
Story: Badrinath aka Badri (Dhawan) is a happy-go-lucky youngster from Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. He has studied only till 10th standard and looks after his family business. He stays with his father (Rituraj), mother (Prabhu), elder brother (Sinha) and his wife (Prasad). His father is an epitome of patriarchy and regressive practices. So, he doesn’t let women in his family to work and dowry is utmost important for him.
Badri also follows his father’s mindset. He comes across Vaidehi (Bhatt) at a wedding and instantly falls for her. But Vaidehi is a progressive thinker who is wholeheartedly against regressive mindsets. Despite that, Badri and Vaidehi fall in love. But how long can two people with such opposite set of beliefs stay together?
Badrinath Ki Dulhania is loaded with situational humour throughout its duration. It doesn’t generate giggles or extended giggles but proper laughter. There are various little moments or antics by the characters that play a large role in tickling your funny bone.
The most positive point of the film is the way it tackles the social issue of dowry, patriarchy and gender inequality. The film is more of a satire on these issues. It doesn’t speak against them but still manages to ridicule them through the presentation. It scores high mostly because of the hard-hitting and liberating climax. But even here, the lightheartedness is kept intact.
Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt have come of age as actors. The not only share a positive chemistry but complement each other in terms of the performance too. Varun gets every aspect of Badri right. The little nuances that he has brought do a lot in adding humour. Alia is fantastic as the righteous feminist. There is no doubt that she is a matured artist now.
The supporting actors play a large role in generating the effect. Sahil Vaid shines as Badri’s best friend. He is all set to get known after this act. Rituraj Singh is thoroughly realistic. You just love to hate him. Yash Sinha, brings the right temperament as Singh’s fearful son. Sukmani Lamba, as Vaidehi’s elder sister, Swanand Kirkire, Shweta Basu Prasad and Aparshakti Khurrana too chip in with impressive acts.
The film has three impressive songs – ‘Tamma Tamma,’ title track and ‘Aashiq Surrender Hua.’
The sudden act before interval by one of the two main leads, which is the biggest turning point, isn’t convincing. The rest of the plus points manage to overshadow this somewhat though.
An incident of attempted rape on a male is shown in a funny way, which is absolutely hypocritical. Will you ever dare show an attempted rape on a female in a humorous manner?
The film should have been much tighter in the second half.
A couple of songs aren’t impressive, which make them as obstacles in the narrative.
A kidnapping scene might not go well with some if it is not seen in the right context (it went off well with me).
Overall: Badrinath Ki Dulhania succeeds in rubbishing off regressive beliefs and provides lots of entertainment too at the same time. It shows the mirror to the section of the society that practices evil practices in the name of ‘tradition.’ The film has had a good opening at the box office. The content and the hype will make sure it enters the Rs 100 crore club.
Review by: Keyur Seta
Director: Shashank Khaitan
Producers: Dharma Productions and Fox Star Studios
Writer: Shashank Khaitan
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Sahil Vaid, Rituraj Singh, Yash Sinha, Shweta Basu Prasad
While we were busy analyzing the results of various municipal elections in Maharashtra, the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) imposed their downright sexist thoughts on the audience.
The board refused certificate to Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha. In other words, they feel the audience should NOT watch this film. The reasons stated by them have sexism written all over them.
In a letter given to the producers, the board justifies their act saying, “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of the society hence film refused under guidelines 1(a), 2(viii), 2 (ix), 2(x), 2 (xi), 2 (xii) and 3 (I).”
Now, let’s break down their so-called justification. They have given away their sick thoughts in the first five words itself by stating that it’s a ‘lady oriented’ film. When you feel offended by female-oriented films, it speaks volumes about your sexist and pro-MCP mindset. You look at it as a threat to your deep-rooted patriarchal thoughts.
The second justification ‘their fantasy above life,’ means a female can’t be shown having fantasy. These people have had no problems all these years when a male, or ‘hero’ as they call it, fantasizes about a girl in various ways.
The other reasons – There are contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of the society – don’t hold ground because the job of the CBFC is not that of a Moral Science teacher.
To make matters worse, Nihalani has justified their actions by sugarcoating it with ‘Indian culture’. He said to the media, “The aim is also to protect our culture and tradition. Our motto is right film should go to the public.”
He should remember that it’s a film CERTIFICATION board. So, their job is only to certify films according to age groups and not pass judgments on which films are ‘right films.’ This was also said by the Bombay High Court during the Udta Punjab fiasco last year. Nihalani and CBFC surely couldn’t have forgotten it so soon. After all, who can forget such huge national embarrassments?
And for your information, the issue is not just limited to a film. It is about how a group of individuals are forcing the people to walk onto their patriarchal path. It is also an attack on freedom of expression in one of world's largest democracies.
However, during every such fiascos by the CBFC, we just don’t tend to look beyond. We criticize Nihalani and other CBFC members but that’s about it. We clearly forget who appointed them and why they are still not removed.
It is the Central Government that had revamped the CBFC committee in 2015. It happened after Leela Samson, the previous chief, and her team resigned due to issues while certifying MSG: The Messenger. The members are handpicked supporters of government ideologies.
Therefore, it is the Central Government that is to be blamed for every attack on freedom of expression by the CBFC. The list of dictatorial blunders by the CBFC is long. So, despite this if they are still not removed, it only means that the government supports them and is propagating its dangerously regressive mindset through the CBFC.
If the government doesn’t support such ideologies, what is stopping them from removing Nihalani and others from the CBFC?
Are they so helpless and powerless?
Conclusion: The film industry needs to unite in huge numbers and protest for the removal of the current CBFC committee team. It has to happen or else we would be discussing the rubbish decisions by these dictators after every few weeks.
By: Keyur Seta
Story: The Ghazi Attack is based on the underwater warfare between India and Pakistan in 1971 in which PNS Ghazi, Pakistan’s submarine, was destroyed. The Indian Navy gets a whiff about Pakistan trying to secretly attack their submarine S-21 through theirs called PNS Ghazi. Pakistan’s aim is to get a clear route to supply weapons to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in order to continue attacking its rebels.
Indian Navy decides to take preventive measures before it’s too late. A secret operation is planned which is headed by Captain Ranvijay Singh (Kay Kay Menon). He is a hot tempered middle-aged man infamous for disobeying orders. His immediate senior, Lieutenant Arjun Verma (Rana Daggubati) and Executive officer Devraj (Atul Kulkarni) have their task cut out because of Singh’s presence. But a challenge much bigger lies ahead of them.
(For the real story of The Ghazi Attack, click HERE).
Review: While India claims that its naval force demolished Pakistan’s submarine, the neighboring country has always maintained that it became a victim of the detonation of its own mines.
The clear picture regarding the same is not known as the operation was classified. So, if you are okay watching a film with fictionalized events around a historical event, chances are you will enjoy The Ghazi Attack. It’s a gripping thriller with a sensible dose of patriotism.
The biggest plus point for The Ghazi Attack is its gripping narrative that doesn’t go off track even a bit. You are glued to the screen throughout with interest-worthy events making sure you don’t realize when the 125 minutes pass by. The idea of not having a single song should also be appreciated.
The key areas when the attacks take place between both submarines are handled with precision. These moments provide some thrilling and nail-biting experience, especially the climax.
The complete working of the submarine with all the little details provide a learning experience (mind you, not preachy). Before this film, the inside of the submarine was well portrayed by Shyam Benegal in Bose: The Forgotten Hero (2005). Not with such detail though as that wasn’t the need.
Despite the film being based on the India-Pakistan war, it doesn’t resort to jingoism, which is a relief considering the times we are living currently.
The dialogues are appealing yet steer clear from being melodramatic of filmi.
Kay Kay Menon once again reminds you why he is one of the finest actors born in India. He provides a skilled act where he emotes through expressions. Rana Daggubati nicely underplays himself. Atul Kulkarni, another terrific artist, comes up with a mature act.
The rest of the supporting cast is perfect. The late Om Puri makes his presence felt in a cameo.
The technical details and jargons appear like bouncers for the layman sometimes. Too much of instructions also appear repetitive.
Taapsee Pannu has emerged as a talented artist in recent times. But over here, she disappoints. She has the same expression during the entire screen time.
Rahul Singh, an underrated talent, does what was required. But his character suffers from being a clichéd one-dimensional Pakistani officer.
The Ghazi Attack is a gripping patriotic thriller. The film has received poor opening collections at the box office. It deserves to earn much more and for that it badly requires word-of-mouth.
Review by: Keyur Seta
Director: Sankalp Reddy
Producers: Anvesh Reddy, Venkatramana Reddy, Prasad V Potluri, N M Pasha, Jagan Mohan Vancha and Karan Johar
Writers: Sankalp Reddy, Gangaraju Gunnam, Niranjan Reddy and Azad Alam
Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Rana Daggubati, Atul Kulkarni, Rahul Singh, Taapsee Pannu
Runtime: 125 minutes
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is back in Mumbai, like it is in the first week of every November since a decade. And like every year, this time too the Kala Ghoda lane is packed with a number of work of arts surrounded by a large contingent of art enthusiasts of Mumbai.
This year, there is a big difference which one can easily spot. And a good one at that. A large statue of a black horse (Kalal Ghoda) is adding to the beauty. Maybe because of this, it seems horse is the theme this year. One can find different works of arts modeled on quite a few horse structures inside the Kala Ghoda lane.
Here are some more pictures from this year's (2017) Kala Ghoda Arts Festival:
Street loaded with art pieces lit up during a winter evening.
The new statue of Kala Ghoda (black horse) at the start of the street.
A horse statue made out of plastic bottles. 'Best from waste' has been a favourite theme at this festival ever since its inception.
Amazing 3D painting. First time I ever saw one.
Another part of the same 3D painting. One can see the picture of the great freedom fighter and social reformer, Lokmanya Tilak. Byculla Zoo also features at the top.
A huge kite made out of waste materials.
A unique statue of a horse made out of green leaves. Needless to say, it gives the message of going nature-friendly.
A statue where you can write any damn message. You will find all kinds of bizarre messages too if you look closely.
A slide where even grown-ups can try their hand, rather legs. After all, dil toh bachcha hai ji.
The country is going through a phase when the importance of Indian army and defence is at an all time high. So, it isn't surprising to see an army tank at the end of the festival lane.
Director Sanjay Gupta’s Kaabil is a perfect example of how promos can be misleading. The film’s main trailer and the song promos weren’t enticing to say the least. But the Hrithik Roshan and Yami Gautam starrer turns out to be a pleasant surprise. The film is an emotional and intelligent revenge drama.
Storyline (without spoilers): Rohan Bhatnagar (Hrithik Roshan) is a blind dubbing artist staying alone in Mumbai. He meets the visually challenged Supriya Sharma (Yami Gautam) through a matchmaker common friend and fall in love. They get married and are happy in their little world. But fate has something else in store for them.
Amit (Rohit Roy), a roadside ruffian, stays in Rohan’s colony. He, along his friend Wasim, brutally rape Supriya. Rohan is devastated but fate isn’t done on him yet. Yet another tragedy falls on him. Now, he must fight not only against Amit but also his equally evil MLA brother, Shelar (Ronit Roy). And that too all alone despite being blind.
-- When you know that a film is a revenge drama, there is a danger of the audience having to impatiently wait for the tragedy so that the film can take off from there. Sometimes, the entire first half is spent in this. Thankfully, this is so well taken care of by the writing. The road to the tragedy is smooth and interesting. Love blossoming between two blind people also appears real.
-- This is the biggest plus point. The whole idea of a blind person taking revenge from a corrupt politician and other baddies not only sounds impossible but also laughable. However, the writer and director prove us wrong. The protagonist’s manner of taking revenge is intelligent and sensible. The incidents where he outsmarts the bad guys are applaud-worthy since you automatically start rooting for him. Pulling this aspect off is in itself a big achievement.
-- Kaabil is also high on performances. Hrithik Roshan gives a dedicated and skillful act. The biggest challenge for him was to make the audience believe that he is blind, which he does convincingly. His rendition of those subtle, heroic dialogues help his cause further. On few occasions though he smiles unnecessarily which brings back memories of his character, Rohit from Koi Mil Gaya (2003).
After Vicky Donor (2012), Yami Gautam finally has a quality movie. She too lives up to the demand of playing a blind character convincingly. Rohit Roy forces you to hate him, which means he has done well. Ronit Roy has a more restrained character and he displays his talent successfully.
Narendra Jha, who also stars in Raees, is impressive as the cop, Chaubey. This might be his most noticeable role so far. Girish Kulkarni’s negative shades are a treat to watch once again. But after Ugly (2014) and Dangal (2016) and this film, he should make sure he doesn’t get stereotyped. As Hrithik’s best friend, Suresh Menon is alright.
-- When you have a blind person taking revenge, you have no choice but to take cinematic liberties. But on few occasions, there are certain flaws that you can’t ignore. Especially during the tragedy and the climax. Thankfully, the smart narrative and presentation doesn’t let you think much about them.
-- The music isn’t that impressive either. ‘Sara Zamana’ is an enjoyable foot-tapping number but Urvashi Rautela’s dance steps are horrendous. Plus, the song doesn’t fit the film.
Overall: Kaabil is an enjoyable revenge saga that is also high on emotions. The film has a steep task at the box-office as it is released with Raees. It does have hope of doing well till Sunday if it receives positive word-of-mouth. This film deserves to do well.
Review by: Keyur Seta
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Producer: Rakesh Roshan for Filmkraft Productions
Writer: Sanjay Masoom and Vijay Kumar Mishra
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Yami Gautam, Ronit Roy, Rohit Roy, Narendra Jha
Music: Rajesh Roshan
Genre: Revenge drama
Runtime: 138 minutes
Story: Ti Sadhya Kay Karte starts off in the 1990s in Mumbai. Anurag aka Anya (Hruditya Rajwade), during his school days, falls in love with Tanvi (Nirmohi Agnihotri) at first sight. They grow up together as best friends.
When they (Abhinay Berde and Aarya Ambekar) reach college, Anya is certain that he still loves Tanvi but is not complete sure. Years later when Anya turns middle-aged (as Ankush Chaudhari), he attends their college reunion and wonders where Tanvi (Tejashri Pradhan) is.
Review: A large portion of the first half of Ti Sadhya Kay Karte makes you feel as if this is yet another Marathi film focusing on childhood romance. There have been many falling in such genre in last 5-6 years with Shala (2012) and Fandry (2014) being the most notable ones.
But you soon realize that is not the case (even if it was you wouldn’t mind because of the treatment). This breezy romantic film is, in fact, the most mature and realistic take on childhood romance and the idea of moving on you will see in a long time.
- Ti Sadhya Kay Karte is blessed with a terrific screenplay. Manaswini L R has used a fine mixture of fast pace and flashback. She is clear as to how much to reveal and when. To narrate a story in three time zones is not easy at all.
- She is also responsible for some creatively funny dialogues and scores high even during the emotional ones in the end. In fact, dialogues have a lion’s share in the overall result. The Orange flavor Glucon D idea deserves special mention.
- Rajwade is known for handling love stories intelligently. He handles this difficult subject with ease.
- It is mandatory for the music to be of high quality in such love stories. The songs over here fit the situation and are melodious too.
- The casting and the performances sum up a high quality product. Ankush Chaudhari gets different dimensions of his character right. He lives up to the task completely. Tejashri Pradhan doesn’t have that much screen time but she is highly impactful through a thoroughly skillful performance.
Debutant Abhinay Berde (son of Laxmikant Berde) shows confident acting skills. Singer Aarya Ambekar makes her acting debut. After this delithful performance, she is sure to get more acting offers. Hruditya Rajwade and Nirmohi Agnihotri too are obedient and lovable.
- There is one flaw about the separation of the lead characters and few others in the course of the narration.
- The runtime could have been little bit on the lower side with this storyline.
Overall: Ti Sadhya Kay Karte is a feel-good and moving romantic tale. The film is sure to start the New Year for Marathi cinema on a positive note at the box-office.
Review by: Keyur Seta
Director: Satish Rajwade
Producers: Zee Studios and Pallavi Rajwade
Writers: Manaswini L R and Satish Rajwade
Cast: Ankush Chaudhari, Tejashri Pradhan, Abhinay Berde, Aarya Ambekar, Hruditya Rajwade and Nirmohi Agnihotri
Music: Nilesh Mohrir, Avinash-Vishwjeet and Mandar Aapte
Runtime: 127 minutes
Today, Om Puri reminded us the law of nature. The great artist passed away at his residence in Mumbai following a massive cardiac arrest. He was one artist for whom the word ‘irreplaceable’ can be used. Below is an old interview of his that I took for the annual 2014 issue of Trade Guide magazine. It is been posted with due permission of the publication.
A name like Om Puri doesn’t need any formal introduction. By going strong in the field of acting for 40 years, he is easily one of the finest acting talents the country has seen. For the special annual issue of Trade Guide, the veteran artist gets candid exclusively with Keyur Seta over his career and the recently concluded year.
You have done art-house cinema as well as hardcore commercial cinema. Which of the two genres makes you more proud?
To be honest, I am proud of both types of cinemas. Art-house cinema gave me recognition, credibility and honor as a good actor. Because of these films, I was able to travel all over the world by participating in film festivals. It also gave me two National Awards and other awards. But unfortunately, art cinema didn’t have much money. So, commercial cinema provided me with livelihood. I am having a decent living because of commercial cinema. Hence, I am grateful to both types of cinemas. But without art films, commercial cinema wouldn’t have recognized me at all. I didn’t have the type of personality commercial cinema needs. They would have considered me as one of the junior artists.
How would you describe your more than three decade long journey in Hindi cinema?
I am quite happy with my career to be honest. I have not only made a mark in art-house cinema but have also been a part of commercial cinema. Plus, I am also a known name in the west. So surely I am quite happy. But unfortunately, our cinema doesn’t have much material for elderly actors unlike the west. They have a lot of subjects where elderly actors are the main leads.
You started off by getting a job at a theatre group when you were very young. At that time, did you ever imagine that one day you will be counted as one of the finest actors?
No, I never thought that. I just kept working hard with sincerity and honestly and didn’t think about anything. I was focused.
Naseer sahab (Naseeruddin Shah) has been your companion all through your acting journey.
He has a huge contribution in making me a better actor, knowingly or unknowingly. He was the one who inspired me enroll at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. As I had no money to study at FTII, he told me, beg, borrow or steal but come here. He said there is no future in Delhi. So I will always be grateful to him. We have been friends since almost 44 years now.
How was the year 2014 for Hindi cinema according to you?
To be honest, I don’t think the year was too exciting. I also feel that we have too many urban films made these days whereas a large chunk of our population stays in villages. Films about village and its issues are very rarely made. In fact, they are not made anymore.
A lot of unconventional films are tried in mainstream Hindi cinema nowadays.
Yes, there are filmmakers who are making good meaningful cinema. I am not denying that. There are a number of such filmmakers like Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap who make films with good content.
What are your expectations from our films in 2015?
Firstly, I don’t agree that films are just meant purely for entertainment. It is such a powerful medium that it can participate in educating the society. It has the ability to inspire people and create values. Today a lot of youngsters are into drugs and all such notorious activities. So cinema can play a role in it. I am not saying there shouldn’t be entertainment. But entertainment should have some weight. JAANE BHI DO YAARO was entertaining but it also carried a message. So along with entertaining films, there should be some serious films, which aren’t biased and prejudiced. One such film was OH MY GOD.
These days, 100 crore club is becoming smaller as 200 or 300 crore is considered the ultimate achievement.
There is no end to it. It is purely commerce and business. It is sad that cinema is only being treated as business. I can understand that there is a big investment. Of course, whoever spends money on a film should get the returns. But a person recovering 10, 20 or 50 times the money spent is a bit ridiculous. Why don’t you make more films? For example, instead of raising the price of one toy, why can’t I make 15-20 toys and keep making money?
But this was started in 50s itself. Initially, artists from various fields of theatre migrated to cinema. Once cinema established itself as a fruitful business, it attracted businessmen, who had no creative affiliation or background. They were purely businessmen, who started dictating terms for making films successful. Otherwise, that era was known for producing meaningful films by people like Bimal Roy, Gurudutt, V Shantaram, etc.
Do you think the current audience is more willing to watch off beat films as compared to 10 or 20 years ago?
There is nothing like that. It is just that off beat cinema should not be boring; it should be interesting. You can either write an essay or a short story. People aren’t interested in essays unless you are a literary person. But people like reading stories because it interests them. Very few people read editorials in newspapers; they like reading headlines and news. So you should not treat cinema as an editorial. ARDHA SATYA and AAKROSH didn’t have songs but they were successful films. The same was the case with films like KANOON and ITTEFAQ. When I was a student, I saw OONCHE LOG and I liked it although it didn’t have songs.
Any actor you haven’t work with yet but are eager to work?
I am ready to work with anyone. I would like to work with someone who is better than me because that will enable me to give my best.