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Last Updated 20.08.2019 | 1:42 PM IST
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Reflections – Can our top directors experiment?

Karan Johar“>

When I was a kid, I remember being good in maths. So much so that all I wanted to study was more of this subject. There were other science subjects that I had along with literature but it was maths that had caught my fancy. This continued in college as well as post graduation and soon the fear caught up with me that if ever I tried to concentrate on anything other than maths, I would fail miserably. It’s a different matter altogether that what I do currently for a living has absolutely nothing to do with maths but well yes, those were the days when experimentation with anything else was definitely out of question. I was finding reasonable success in the subject and the thought process was simple – ‘Why to rock a smooth sailing boat?’

So why such a preamble? Well, that’s because on watching some of the films coming from the house of Hollywood, I realised to my pleasant surprise that there are so many filmmakers out there who dare to be different when it comes to switching genres. Leave aside a genius like Steven Spielberg who makes his series on fantasy action thriller Indian Jones with as much pleasure as a highly dramatic Munich, even a relatively lesser known filmmaker like Sam Mendes shifts genres when he makes a dramatic crime drama Road To Perdition after Oscar winning abstract movie American Beauty.

Rohit Shetty“>

Now let’s look at our Bollywood flicks. Here we have directors who have stuck to the success formula and with an exception of two or three filmmakers, majority are not even thinking of experimenting. Majority are happy in their comfort zone and though Priyadarshan is the most versatile of all with an Aakrosh being poles apart from Garam Masala, Karan Johar daring to do a My Name Is Khan despite starting off with a Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Ram Gopal Varma switching tracks between Rann and Rakht Charitra, Rohit Shetty picking up a Singham after Golmaal series and Farhan Akhtar leaving aside his cool coming of age Dil Chahta Hai behind for an even cooler urban action drama Don and it’s sequel, they are outnumbered by those who are happy to what they are best at.

In this week’s ‘Reflections’, here is a wish list of seeing some of our top Bollywood directors take a different route in years to come.

How about a comedy from Mani Ratnam?

As far as Hindi films are concerned, Mani Ratnam hasn’t been able to crack the formula. He has made three highly dramatic films in Dil Se, Yuva and Raavan. Sir, how about an out and out feel good candy floss comedy yet? As a top filmmaker over the last decade or so, you could possibly break the shackles and chill out, both on and off the screens.

How about a dark thriller from Aditya Chopra and Sooraj Barjatya?

Aditya Chopra and Sooraj Barjatya have made a career out of selling tales where ‘all is well’. They have been mighty successful in that as well with both boasting of near cent percent record. They have made films which are abound with songs, ‘bhartiya sanskaar’, lot of colours and a message at the end of it all. Now how about getting your evil side out? They say everyone has it to some degree at the least. So how about making a dark thriller next, something on the lines of what David Fincher did with Se7en?

How about a thriller from Rajkumar Hirani and Imtiaz Ali?

Talking about all is well, if there are two filmmakers for whom success and respect are part and parcel of each other, they are Rajkumar Hirani and Imtiaz Ali. Their filmography don’t need a detailing here. What is needed though or rather would be really appreciated though, is to see the men taking a shift from films where they concentrate on human drama and instead come up with a slick tale where technology has a major role to play as well, what with VFX, some high octane action sequences and cutting edge cinematography galore. Can we expect you to make films on the lines of Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies and American Gangster respectively?

How about an action entertainer from Anees Bazmee?

Here is a curious case of a filmmaker who has been so mighty thrilled with the super-success of his hat-trick comedies No Entry, Welcome and Singh Is Kinng that his profile for next couple of years at the least would continue to boast of comedies, Thank You being the latest example. Now that’s surprising because the man has made a couple of action dramas (Hulchul, Deewangee) as well as a rom-com (Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha) at the beginning of his career. How about going back to making a full-on action entertainer on the lines of Steven Soderbergh’s Oceans series?

How about a comedy from Prakash Jha?

Think P and there are two words that come to mind – Prakash Jha and Politics. And Sir, you have excelled in this genre and how! Yes, you have been attempting different genres as a producer with Yeh Saali Zindagi, Turning 30 and Dil Dosti Etc. Now how about taking a challenge on yourself and making an out and out comedy? You know the kind that Rohit Shetty makes? Yes, sounds far fetched but then won’t it be fun to see what happens on screen when a veteran filmmaker with an intellectual bent of mind decided to splash colours all over his frames.

How about an eye pleasing bubble gum campus romantic entertainer from Vishal Bhardwaj?

Dull lit frames, dark mood, violence, betrayal and many such emotions that are far away from feel-good quotient are some of the most important ingredients of a Vishal Bhardwaj film. We have seen that as much in an adult drama 7 Khoon Maaf like a children’s film Makdee. Now how about taking a break of sorts and form a team of a bunch of college going youngsters who work effectively with you to deliver a campus rom-com. You know the kind that resembles Riverdale High with kids on the lines of Archie, Betty and Veronica? And yes, don’t make them kill each other please!

How about an urban suspense thriller from Ashutosh Gowariker?

Talk Ashutosh Gowariker and you expect a period outing. Yes, he has experimented with What’s Your Raashee and Swades but do you remember that he is the man who has actually made a masala action entertainer Baazi at the beginning of his career? So how about giving research a break and make an urban suspense thriller next? For a filmmaker of your calibre, it would be fun to see you dabble with a difficult subject, so how about having Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island for a reference?

How about a musical from Sanjay Gupta?

Ok, so it has been half a decade since you directed a full fledged film. Obviously, you would be itching to get started and what better way to get back to direction than do what you are best at i.e. making slick action entertainer. But then how about thinking a little out of the box and planning a musical instead? It may not be out and out candyfloss but something on the lines of James Mangold’s Walk The Line. It would give you flexibility to play around the dramatic elements as well and since music of your films is anyways memorable, there may be an opportunity to amalgamate it well with a new narrative too!

How about a big budgeted futuristic film from Bhatts?

Cost effective – That’s the USP of films coming from the house of Bhatts. In last couple of decades, with an exception of two/three films, majority of films made by Bhatts have been made medium budgeted affairs. How about going the whole hog for that one film and taking the biggest gamble ever of your life? Would it be asking for too much if I may suggest that you could totally shock the audience and make a film on the lines of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

I know, all of this sounds far fetched. But what do you think? Would these acclaimed filmmakers ever be willing to give it all a try?

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