There’s much secret consternation and annoyance among prominent filmmakers in Bollywood over the selection of Prakash Jha’s two films Raajneeti and Gangaajal as the opening and closing films of the brand new Indian Film Festival in Ireland.
Other filmmakers whose works have been selected include Jahnu Barua (Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara), Nagesh Kukunoor (Dor), Navdeep Singh (Manorana Six Under), J P Dutta (Umrao Jaan), Paresh Mokashi (Harishchandrachi Factory), Nikhil Advani (Kal Ho Na Ho), Balki (Paa), Vishal Bhardwaj (The Blue Umbrella).
Most of the above have confirmed that they would not be attending the Bollywood festival in Dublin.
And one of them on condition of anonymity expressed surprise and dismay at the prominence given to Jha’s cinema. “I agree he has made hard-hitting political films. But you can’t call Gangaajal or Raajneeti representative of Indian cinema. Their politics makes them very culture-specific works.”
However, Prakash Jha basking in the super-success of his film dismisses such talk as self-defeating. “It’s this crab mentality that keeps Indian cinema from making a global impact. Some people almost seem to be mourning because Raajneeti has done so well!”
Prakash Jha’s Raajneeti has given him the kind of commercial clout he had never dreamt of. Right after the Raajneeti celebration on June 23, he now heads for two very distinguished European retrospectives of his films in Ireland and London.
The first Indian Film Festival in Dublin which starts on June 25 has Jha specially kicked. “It’s the first time that such a festival is being held in Ireland. They’re screening Raajneeti as the Festival’s opening film and my Gangaajal as the closing film.”
Films that are bracketed between Jha’s Raajneeti and Gangaajal at the Indian Film in Dublin include the two versions of Devdas by Bimal Roy and Sanjay Leela Bhansali and the two versions of Umrao Jaan by Muzaffar Ali and J.P Dutta.
Unfazed by the muted protests about the priority given to his cinema in Ireland, Prakash heads for Dublin and straight after will go to London for a 5-film retrospective at the Nehru Centre from June 30.
Glowing with his new status as a commercially viable director Paraksh Jha says, “The Nehru Centre was to screen only 3 of my films Mrityudand, Apaharan, Gangaajal. But after Raajneeti they insisted we include it in the retro.”
We wonder why.