The era of lengthy epic tales with two intervals, one siesta-break and three meals are over. Filmmakers are now being forced to restrict their completed product’s playing-time to 2 hours or less.
Prakash Jha who gave one of the biggest hits of 2010, Raajneeti, has been granted a 15 minute grace-period, considering his box office standing. Nonetheless, Prakash too has been forced to comply by what Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra describes as the “multiplex samosa-sales pitch.”
After the 2 hour 47 minute marathon Raajneeti, Prakash Jha has been compelled to cut down the length of his new film Aarakshan to a much shorter playing-time of 2 hour 15 minutes.
Sighs the harried filmmaker, ‘It is the demand of the times…and of time. You can’t afford to make your film longer than a certain length. It hampers the number of screenings in the multiplexes and restricts viewership as well. Though I must add that the audience will be with you for as long as you want if the story is gripping.”
To make the playing-time of Aarakshan gripping, Prakash Jha has ruthlessly cut down the length. “Yes, I have kept the length down to the minimum. Nowadays a filmmaker can’t afford to be emotional about the footage that he shoots. What had to go is gone in Aarakshan. I don’t make a film only for my own satisfaction. I’ve to keep many considerations in mind.”
It’s learnt that some of dramatic and emotional sequences featuring the Big B with Saif and Deepika Padukone had to go for the sake of brevity. Ideally, Prakash would have liked Aarakshan to have much more playing-time. “It’s a complex story. I talk about the reservation issue that goes back to Rig Veda and then right up to Jayaprakash Narayan’s student movement in the 1960s. A lot of back-projection was required.”
With the length being cut down to an austere 2 hours and 15 mins, the film has to sacrifice the explanatory history.