On Saturday, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur tweeted about his movie Dil Se… finishing 22 years, hinting a change that has swept Bollywood for the more serious. He wrote,“25 yrs ago Mani Ratnam, Ram Gopal Verma and I predicted that soon our creativity will be controlled by big corporations, if directors ourselves don’t get together to counter that corporate power. Dil Se was the first of that collaboration. Unfortunately, the last..”
So, What is that this company tradition he referred to? Is it nonetheless prevalent? If sure, how much of it controls the business?
Onir, who has directed movies equivalent to My Brother Nikhil and I Am, explains,“Earlier, it was an organic process between a director and a producer. Now a whole lot of people, not filmmakers, are supposed to understand. For example, when you go to a restaurant, and decide you want to eat Punjabi food, but when you go to someone’s house, the cook feeds you, not what you order, with love. Filmmakers earlier made films with love and told the story they wanted to tell. Right now, the platform figures if this is a story it wants to tell. Their creative teams will say ‘this is not what we are looking for’,” he explains.
25 yrs in the past Mani Ratnam, Ram Gopal Verma and I predicted that quickly our creativity shall be managed by large companies, if administrators ourselves don’t get collectively to counter that company energy. Dil Se was the primary of that collaboration. Unfortunately, the final #22YearsOfDilSe
— Shekhar Kapur (@shekharkapur) August 22, 2020
Elaborating extra, Madhur Bhandarkar tells us, “It was there earlier, too, when a person would say ‘iss film mein item song daal do, film dry hai, comedy scene daal do’. Since the corporate culture came in, a lot of people have this focus group which assesses the film, gauges the script, shows the film to a test audience, which is not necessarily 100% right. There is no doctrine of making hit or great cinema.”
Today we see large producers with their personal manufacturing homes, making movies in collaboration with studios. Anurag Basu says the system of impartial productions modified a very long time again. “The studios decide what to make. The directors may have subject and a script idea, but the studio need not agree. They don’t most times and don’t back the project. They see the director’s last film, box office record etc. that’s how they judge mostly.”
Onir provides that what Kapur should have meant is that populism just isn’t the easiest way of nurturing creativity. He says, “Right now, platforms look at who the star is, and the other is of course content, depending on who gets the eyeballs. Today, when you speak of the best Indian films such as Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa (1957), all were flops during their time, but they got made because people believed.”
Trade professional Atul Mohan says, “We have 15-20 companies functioning in corporate style.”
But Basu says that “new filmmakers and directors do face interference as studios always see the return on investment” however “it’s a business. It has made things more organised, everything is in white, no black money. Almost all the business is controlled by corporates,” he explains.
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