The Director’s Special with Seven talented film-makers
Seven talented film-makers, Imtiaz Ali, Vikramaditya Motwane, Rohan Sippy, Subhash Kapoor, Bejoy Nambiar, Hansal Mehta and Vipul Shah got together at the MiD DAY office to discuss things that they wished were a part of the industry now…
Moderator: Of the rich history that we have, what is the one thing that Indian cinema needs to recover — something that we’ve lost along the way?
Motwane: Better storytelling. I think it’s a good time to share newer stories. Ten, years ago, if someone were to ask me this question, I would have had too many answers. But today, we are coming up with films unheard of before, so yes, I believe we should be heading back to — in the sense — I’d like to see more varied subjects being tackled on the screen. Although we’re gradually getting there, I’d love to see our stars taking risks with more challenging roles. I don’t have complaints the way things stand today but we can definitely try telling better stories.
Sippy: Yes, there is a lot of great things happening. I think what was fun about the old films was the way directors shot a song: the way they made it a part of the narrative. I feel it would be nice to revive that practice once again, because they are not just random songs. They can connect emotionally with the audience. They were brilliantly done until very recently so it would be nice to rediscover that in the next generation of filmmaking.
Mehta: The good old way of storytelling needs to be rediscovered. There was a certain charm and innocence. What I see today is we carry a lot of baggage. We are exposed to too many things and it’s good as well as bad in a way too.
Shah: At least we are moving in the right direction. Anurag Kashyap’s Paanch wouldn’t have been stuck if it were released in the ’80s. We were doomed but now we’ve moved on to better space. But in a way, our efforts seem manipulated.Moderator: Do you mean now the emotions are more manipulated than spontaneous?
Shah: I think we have lost a lot of our emotions in the long run. In fact, we’ve forgotten that as a country, we are very emotional people. Our films nowadays don’t exhibit that side. In fact, they seem to lack them and the emotions don’t get reflected as much as they should be.
Moderator: Is the overexposure to foreign cinema a reason behind this change?
Mehta: Of course, it’s a generic effect. It’s not something based on my inverted version of how we perceive things.
Shah: I think what we lack is progressiveness. Storytelling as, he (Motwane) rightly said, we are going back to telling different stories and all of that, but I think the cinema at that time had far more passion which I think, today, is all about a certain 100-crores club or a certain weekend box office. So the film is designed to fulfill a certain requirement of the market and we’ve become a very regressive society. If you look at 1940s and ‘50s cinema, the kissing sequences were very common in those films. Today, to put a kissing sequence is a huge issue for a big chunk of society. You don’t see a Guide kind of a film often. A wife leaving her husband and getting into a live-in relationship at that time became a classic. I don’t know whether today’s society actually is going to be able to digest something like that. Nobody talks about it being modern cinema but whether it will become an all-India success in all parts of the society, I have my doubts. If you look at a film like Mamta, where Suchitra Sen was a prostitute. Today, if you come up with Laga chunari mei daag, people won’t even go inside the theater. Whether it’s a good film or a bad thing is another thing. How can you show the middle class a hint of reality?
Moderator: Are you saying that people are now becoming old-fashioned?
Mehta: Just look at the number of PILs filed against filmmakers.
Shah: Nobody hears these PILs if it’s not about a film. PIL can be somebody’s political motivation, somebody’s individual interest, much against society’s as a whole. I’m sure we are getting more regressive. If you look at our stories, you look at some of greatest successes in the last five years and ironically, the most successful ones were old-fashioned. What he (Hansal) was talking about — the baggage — I think that stems from a new generation using a certain craft together to create a certain kind of story. What is happening in the world, you try and devise new structures because you want to be ahead of what was happening there. So you say, okay, I’m going to interpret or I am going to take this kind of structure, or that kind of structure but I don’t think that really is a real issue. The real issue is what stories we’re telling, which are connecting with the largest part of the audience and those stories are the most old-fashioned stories. We used to have much more progressive work done then. And I think the passion for cinema has diluted into something totally different. There are passionate filmmakers but there is a huge factor of how the film will be marketed, what the weekend collection should be, what the numbers are, all that has kind of taken over the basic passion. In the past, we got so many cases of filmmakers who mortgaged their house for their films. There was a time when parallel cinema was thriving in India whether it was Ardh Satya with film makers like Shyamji (Benegal) or Govindji (Nihalani)….
Kapoor: I don’t know about Indie or parallel cinema but the most crucial thing is having an audience. When you go ahead with them, you can put some onus on them to embrace whatever is being offered. The biggest input is money and expecting money in return, is but natural. So commerce having a lion’s share in the whole set up be it commercial or Indie or parallel cinema, is not surprising. Besides, parallel cinema began to decline after filmmakers started churning out trash in the name of parallel cinema. Also, the audience turned regressive thanks to television over the years!
Shah: Television was far more progressive in the ’80s. So we are going backwards and this has a lot to do with society, not filmmakers. We are ready to take up challenges but the point is that unless society is ready to accept what you want to show, it’s going to be a dead-end.
Moderator: So the challenge is to reflect society in whatever way possible?
Kapoor: Exactly. If you talk about ’80s television being better, you’ll also have to look at the socio-political atmosphere in the country in that era. Society is going to provide fodder for cinematic expression but don’t expect too much from the filmmakers. We belong to the same breed that adds an extra A or a K to their names when their film flops on a Friday. The only responsibility we hold is to reflect a bit of truth and if we’re doing that with a certain amount of conviction — in spite of the marketing pressure, the box office calculations and so much more — then yes, we need appreciation. Speaking of rediscovery, I still feel there has to be a resurrection of conviction in filmmakers.
Shah: Just to add to what you are saying, we were having this discussion once about smoking. And the argument was that people are smoking because they see actors doing the same on the screen. What I feel is if the film industry can give the government in writing that for two years, not a single actor would be seen smoking in films, do you think the number of people smoking will go down? If you give us that assurance then we take the responsibility. Otherwise, just to make this statement and in fact if you look at it in last two-three years, there have hardly been any film showing rapes. Then why so many rapes are happening?
Moderator: You guys are saying that the society has become regressive, then films have little part to play in that. At least a small part.
Shah: My argument is very simple. In the last five years, filmmakers have actually tried to do something completely opposite to what their predecessors did. Reflecting a regressive society is progressiveness, right?
Nambiar: Being part of interesting times where a good mix of films are coming up, I’m glad we are overcoming the lull of the 1990s when only one genre ruled the roost. After the millennium, there was a gradual move towards more radical and bolder scripts… something I’m glad to witness because it has to be now rather than later. The other day I was discussing with a friend how Lootera has to be hit. You don’t come across a beautiful period film like it very often and that too with young actors. You know it’s going to work.
Motwane: When we talk about what’s going to work or what’s not, we try to set a precedent. Take, Oh My God! for example, it was a huge hit as a play and transitioning into a successful film was a natural progress but still there was a chance of it failing but it didn’t. And as far as the stars are concerned, what’s common to our classics be it Guide or Andaz or Mother India? They all have stars in them. It’s very important to bring recognisable faces on board. They need to support the filmmakers.
Moderator: So, not very long ago, passion was the main factor and today, money is the main factor?
Motwane: See, all the memorable films are made with passion be it Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam or Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. You can’t make a film like Maine Pyar Kiya or a QSQT without passion.
Shah: But then these filmmakers didn’t have to worry about piracy.
Sippy: There were VCRs then, weren’t there?
Shah: Yes, there were but the current scenario — with Internet and whatnot — is not in favour of us.
Nambiar: In Tamil Nadu, they make sure that a single DVD is not out till the actual video copyright is established. Why can’t we enforce that here in this state? Should we just blame everything on downloading and the entire Internet revolution? The truth is the Internet plays a vital role in deciding the box-office figures. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Somebody sitting in Mumbai tweets that so-and-so film is not good enough and someone in Delhi takes the verdict seriously and stays away from the cinema hall. The opposite is true too.
Sippy: Besides, not everyone can afford to pay what the multiplexes charge nowadays. It’s more like the setup caters more to the middle-class, if not just upper middle-class. There’s no such a thing as mass audience anymore.
Shah: But there are single screens, with ticket prices ranging from 80 to 100 bucks which are equally essential to a film’s success. In fact, multiplexes are coming back to lower range from Mondays to Thursdays. And to the filmmakers’ credit, filmmaking is an expensive enterprise, as the production value has gone up and the cost needs to be offset.
Sippy: Yes, this is so because of the monopolistic business model where the exhibitor benefits a lot. As a result, we get a much lower share from the theater collection.
Shah: We are the worst hit in the world. Out of roughly 100 rupees you collect, about 70 bucks are taken away in some form of tax or the other.
Sippy: It’s not even tax, the exhibitor has his share…
Shah: And most of the multiplexes are five years or older, so they pay their dues. The math works in such a way that out of every 100 rupees collected, you receive Rs 28. And out of this Rs 28, you are supposed to make your film and God knows what else taxes are there to pay. Did I mention income tax as well? It’s not even funny.
Sippy: And you don’t even see any help coming from the government.
Shah: No, they did in one of the budget sessions, some of the respected names went and made sure that the service tax was removed on the distribution from every actor, director who wasn’t under the service tax net. Now, we are back to square one. It was like a good backhand slap to us but they did manage to get that tax waived off. Well, it came back to us in a different form, so today we are paying service tax on everybody’s fee which was never the case.
Moderator: Subhash, what aspect of our industry are you glad is not there anymore?
Kapoor: (Pauses) Black money. It’s not there but I’m sure it will come back. And I’m glad the finances are far more streamlined than the organised and professional setups and all that. It wasn’t like this, earlier.
Motwane: I’m happy about this change.
Shah: Just to add to what Subhash was saying, the working conditions have improved. Earlier, it was terrible. We bother with insurances for the workers today, which is a really good sign.
Nambiar: The audience of today is definitely more involved and exposed to knowledge which wasn’t the case earlier. No wonder we have an intelligent audience knowing exactly what it would like to watch.
Moderator: So is the R 100 crore club really a deciding factor or just a euphemism for inflated ego?
Motwane: It’s more of a benchmark. At one point of time, it was silver jubilee and golden jubilee with movies running for weeks. It’s like that’s the same thing with Rs 100 crore club.
Shah: DDLJ was measured by days, not crores. Despite running for 900 odd weeks, it’d make around 200 crores. That’s it. Compare that to Mughal-e-Azam which collected like 22 crores but it’d be like 1,000 crores in today’s numbers. The commerical awareness is there amongst the filmmakers now. They care about box-office figures. I myself didn’t know how much Aankhen made until in 2006.
Moderator: So the challenge is to sustain the crowd throughout?
Shah: Word of mouth plays a huge part, because, a film like Udaan might attract a crowd but it has to sustain on its own. And that’s a challenge. By the time, you’re ready to watch it, it might be out of the theatres.
Sippy: Yes, but you can’t because 70 per cent of the screens are controlled by one company…
Motwane: Sheer monopoly.
Sippy: And they are going to offer lease. That’s also when you’re under pressure.
Shah: Slumdog Millionaire releases on four prints in the US and goes on to do $350 million worldwide. Hum Apke Hain Kaun, opened with barely 35 prints and there is no chance of doing the same business.
Mehta: The real point here is that Slumdog in America can release on four prints because they can control piracy.
Shah: Yes, the biggest challenge is to control piracy. Once we manage to do that, the revenues will automatically go up.
Mehta: Fair enough, but my understanding is that for the unfortunate parties who spent six or seven crores on a small film and if it doesn’t see the light of second weekend, he may not recover. Whereas in the American system, because of piracy’s control, it can grow from a four prints to an incredibly larger number. That’s the difference.
Motwane: Here, the studio loves to work within the box. We can try innovative measures but we seldom do that. The usual conversation is yeh toh karna hi padega when it comes to marketing instead of asking aur kya kar sakte hai.
Nambiar: I thought Shaitan did overspend on the publicity.
Moderator: At least the film did well.
Motwane: If you’re able to fight back with the studio saying that listen, you’re ready to do x number of shows and you’re going to do that much promotion over here, daily interviews and whatnot, then nothing’s like it.
Moderator: Also on that note, there have been lot of movies which kind of make it difficult — just retrospect a bit — back here we don’t get distributors to release the movies that make it to festivals, so what are your thoughts on that?
Motwane: When my debut film came back from Cannes I knew who the audiences would be so I didn’t try to fight the system. I simply felt that the story will reach where it has to and it did. There’s no point in projecting something else. Sometimes, it’s good to just not fight the mindset that all fest films are generally boring.
Moderator: And what are your general thoughts about films and festivals?
Motwane: I love film festivals. Going there and watching four films a day is something I just relish.
Nambiar: Malayalam cinema is quite interesting in this respect. In the ’80s and ’90s, there was this particular phase when films with popular actors like Mohanlal and Mammootty balanced art with commercial films. The more interesting factor was the way they marketed the films with nothing but posters. No trailers, no songs, nothing and these posters worked! The posters were the only way of communication and the posters are very clear. The commercial films had a very clear vision. If you see the poster you’ll know, okay, this is a commercial film. If you seen a poster you know, okay, this is another art film. It was in the communication.
Motwane: Speaking of posters, there’s a bastardization of film festivals that is so rampant today. They come up with posters claiming to be Aligarh Film Festival or Kanpur Film Festival. And I’m like, really?
Moderator: Statistically, of the 1.2 billion population, we have only about 47 million people watching in films.
Sippy: In cinemas?
Moderator: Yes. So what do you suggest, what should be the changes made to bring in more people?
Motwane: Good content. You can make a pan-Indian film but I also think it’s very rare to make such a film in our country. 3 Idiots was literally the last film that worked across the board, for everyone. You need more of that — we need more of Raju Hiranis. Also, we have a fragmented audience. There are films for children, adults, young adults and so on. So the idea of a pan-Indian film becomes weaker and weaker but it’s a worthy challenge.
Imtiaz: I feel that like any product or brand, in, there is a phase. Earlier there was just Colgate and now there are millions of other toothpastes. But the good part is everybody is surviving and thriving in the industry and so is the case with Indian cinema today. There are films out there that have been made which the whole India doesn’t watch but they exist. Taking this point forward, good films are being made. But somehow I still the best talent of this country, be it the creative or the performing arts, hasn’t yet reached our cinema. So I can only hope…
Moderator: Why is that so?
Imtiaz: I don’t know. There are resistances, you know, like Bambai nagri mein jayengay aur fir waha survive kaha karogay, bahut exploitation hoga. These, stories always float around. Thankfully, the door seemed to be opened because I am an outsider and I’ve never faced any problem. Having said that, I’ll still go back to reiterate the best talent is still not coming. They are in all these small towns and they sit and talk and tell stories and things that are gold mines — yet to be explored. If they can come in and be a part of the filmmaking process, they’ll contribute so much more. The outsiders are getting in but not in great numbers.
Moderator: Why is that?
Imtiaz: I believe, ideally, the trend is getting slightly better.
Shah: For the last four years, I’ve been battling the studios to start a film with newcomers and none of them was ready to start it. To begin with, forget writer-director, even the new board with established directors aren’t ready to make the films. Today, we are seeing that becoming a trend. Resistance is a common reaction in creative fields. The real question is, how many people are ready to go out and find out these talents and bring them to the industry?
Nambiar: I think the resistance is still there but now, newcomers are flowing in at a steady rate.
Shah: I am asking a simple question. How many newcomers get an appointment with a well-known producer or a studio without struggling for anything four to five months?
Mehta: With digital technology, there are people who are able to make films but they don’t go beyond that. Like I saw some really interesting films at the Toronto Film Festival and out of them, six were really exciting from the word go. But where are they going to end up?
Kapoor: It’s a bit too early to expect the studio, which is a relatively new phenomenon in Bollywood. We do not even have the manpower or the mindset needed to be fully functional. People who have been selling aloos before suddenly thought one day, let’s invest in movies. And their eventual progression has ended up as a studio. After all, who says no to films, cricket and politics in our country? You come in, have a studio, now they are willing to spend crores to have a houseful weekend.
Motwane: Who are these people?
Kapoor: This circle is inhabited with folks who say “I met Hugh Jackman yesterday and you know, what he was telling me about Bollywood” and things like that. In the old days, the filmmakers and their circle didn’t have such people in it. They used to make films with passion. Of course they too definitely had to look at the balance sheet and the business etcetera but there was a great amount of passion to work with the director, to have do the music, to do the lyrics. And great deal of personal involvement while taking a great deal of risk. Sometimes what was at stake was probably the producer’s home or his entire family business or wife’s jewelry. But now, they look at their chart and say, “OK, let’s do two SRK films, two Aamir and let’s find Vikramaditya Motwane somewhere in the middle” and I’m not kidding. This is what the whole business has come down to.
Shah: The irony of the situation here that now we are talking about MAMI having great films with virtually no studio backup. Not yet because they will find it extremely difficult for somebody to pack them in the environment that we are today. They are fantastic storytellers out there hidden somewhere and nobody wants to tap them and pull them out. It’s too risky. That effort is happening at a very individual level, it’s not organised.
Imtiaz: Organised way of doing things will happen when people in the industry will stop giving in to selfish interests of others. The general idea is to make the most of the best talents, get the best films made or best scenes done and make the money. So it’s not an altruistic institution to begin with. Besides, look at the number of movies that are getting made now vis-à-vis the times that we are being nostalgic about here. There’s a huge difference.
Shah: Yes. But earlier also we used to always make a 180-225 films and now we are making 250-260 films a year. That number is, because the marketing visibility so high that we are able to see the smallest flop film is getting noticed, earlier out of 180 or 200, 160 films we will never even realise ke kab ayee kab gayee because it was never in front of us. But for the last at least 15 years, I don’t think a single year when we made less than 100 films.
Mehta: My point is there is a lot of optimism going around. The very fact that these films have been made itself is a cause for optimism. Now how do you convert them into feasible business model is another story. A new business model needs to evolve, all these films to reach their intended target audience, I am not saying that target audience is the same as for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD), but how do you build the need? Building that business model is a challenge and I think it will evolve, the time is bound to come because there is money being invested in these movies, by passionate individuals.
Kapoor: I don’t know how far it is correct to hope and imagine an alternative business model in place. I personally feel, going by the experience of the ’80s and ’90s and what happened to parallel cinema. Something created in a small garage is never going to sustain on its own.
Moderator: So the monetary risk is the scariest part?
Sippy: As far as risks go, there have been exceptions too. Remember the buzz around Hum Aap Ke Hain Kaun when it released? They literally went and cleaned the toilets in Liberty so as to bring the newfound middle class back to cinema halls. That was a risky move but the efforts paid off. The future filmmakers benefited from Sooraj Barjatya’s idea.
Motwane: Lagaan, to me, was the greatest risk ever taken by our industry. And we’re talking about this is 2001. Releasing a film about cricket in a cricket-crazy country and not telling the public that it’s a film on cricket just because you don’t want to spoil the surprise. Crazy! But then, it’s all about content. If your film is good, then people are going to tell their friends that they’ve got to watch this film in a theatre.
Imtiaz: True. I sincerely believe that better films can be made.
Shah: After a point it becomes more about respect, you always want to work for respect and money but after a point respect becomes 90% of the reason why you work. And I think the moment the filmmaker gets into this mode, he becomes better and better with every film till he lasts.
Moderator: And as filmmakers, at what scale is the creative freedom?
Motwane: I don’t think creative freedom has ever been an issue.
Mehta: Our freedom is curbed only by people belonging to extra-constitutional authorities. As far as the studios are concerned, I was once asked to cut my film as it was slightly slow, according to them. So I came back after few days with the same film without any cut and told them that I’ve cut. They said, “See? This one is better.”
Imtiaz: The point is that you sometimes cannot really speak the film in the language the producers understand but you are aware of the fact you are the professional that has been hired and is getting paid for this job. So to do what you want to do you say, okay, I take the dagger on my head. This gives me the leeway to exercise my creative freedom and then hope everything works out perfectly.
Motwane: Honestly, I don’t think most of the powers-to-be don’t have the talent to judge a script or an idea.
Shah: Fair enough but there is only one person who is deciding and he doesn’t have the time to go through every single script. Also, he comes from a business background. How do you expect him to read and visualise the script? If I give a script to a director or a writer or a person who is creatively involved in the film, and if any of them ask me a silly question, I’ll feel awkward. In the end, filmmakers don’t really respect studios’ opinion. More often than not, they find it as a hurdle.
Nambiar: I think it’s a worldwide phenomenon and not just limited to us.
Shah: In Hollywood, the studio will acquire a fully written ready script and then they will start searching for a director and producer and actor. It’s never the case here. They don’t come to you with a script written by a young, talented writer and say, “He or she has written a script, we read it and we liked it and we want you to tell us whether you want to do it”. No, that isn’t the case with us.
Motwane: And with new talent coming in, we need to ask the question that how resilient are they and how much can they sustain? How many years are they willing to give — two, three, four or five — before they give up?
Imtiaz: The demand-supply equation over here is the worst possible ever for any profession. Not only writers or directors, even actors. Wherever a mother says ‘Beta tu toh handsome hai, Shah Rukh se bhi accha lagta hai’, he wants to be here in the industry. It’s been going on for years now. But how many people do become that Shah Rukh Khan yaar? It’s like really the tip of the tip of the pyramid. And there’s very little space up there. There’s bound to be so many failures.
Shah: No, but you see what happens is that for the longest period of time, industry was happy with say 20 directors and a few stars. Now that the big banner studios have entered the picture, every studio wants eight to 10 film releases a year. So they are starting to realise that they can’t survive with just a dozen of top actors. They need 20 or 30 actors. But as soon as they have those 20 or 30 actors, they will again shut down. After the three Khans, you look at how many years it took for Hrithik and Abhishek to come, and then probably John, Shahid and now Ranbir and the upcoming generation of new faces.
Moderator: And what about the actresses?
Motwane: There’s a real shortage of girls in the industry today.
Shah: Yes, Imtiaz won’t say anything as right now, girls are fighting for a role in his film (laughs).
Moderator: Also there aren’t many women-centric films, thank you very much.
Imtiaz: A film doesn’t have to be women-centric as such as long as the roles are strong enough.
Shah: If we look at the last few years, the roles of the girls are improving in our cinema like dramatically. I mean, there is Kahaani and English Vinglish but forget them. Even in terms of love stories, how would you rate YJHD where Deepika’s role is superb.
Moderator: But why do you say there is a dearth of girls in the industry?
Imtiaz: Everytime, one of us starts making a movie, we begin to look for girls who can act and you inevitably see that there’s really nobody.
Sippy: I think what also happened with actresses is the secretaries or the managers they have with them present them as models — not actresses. Earlier, they were instinctive and knew what they are here for. Modelling agencies are now thinking that it’s a similar thing to do when it clearly isn’t. Yes, it’s not easy to find actresses nowadays.
Moderator: Also, their shelf life is slimmer too?
Sippy: Again, the advertising agency type thinking enters in. C’mon! They are selling you shampoo sachets at 50 paise on TV, I mean they have to keep working to be visible. So the agency will get their 10 per cent to 20 per cent commission so as to keep the actresses busy and occupied so that they don’t need to find so many films.
Shah: And unfortunately, it’s an Indian mindset also that shaadi ho gayi toh buddhi ho gayi. That you can’t take up so many projects. In fact, you see how our actresses don’t get married till they are 35 or 37 because they believe this perception. Besides, we’re already seeing that with married actresses, aren’t we? What they were three years back and what they are today. You’ll notice a visible difference, a shift in audiences’ love for them. You can already sense it. They might be mature and all but the perception changes already.
Moderator: Lastly, going back to where we started. Imtiaz, what needs to be rediscovered?
Imtiaz: Language. On the top of my mind, I’ve been thinking about that a lot. We may think in Hindi although Hindi may not be everybody’s mother tongue but the fact of the matter is we are making our film in that language. To make a point, we are talking in English here although we are discussing Indian cinema. The other day, somebody pointed out that people make movies in America and they are talking in Italian while making an English film. We are gradually losing our ethnic identities.
Moderator: Even the scripts are written in English?
Imtiaz: Yes. There is technically no problem but if you have to reach everyone, what is that language that takes you there? I mean, there is a difference between Satyajit Ray making a Bengali film and a Hindi film. Some things get lost.
Moderator: The flavour is lost.
Imtiaz: Are we losing that… is something that we have to worry about? Also, the fact is that the language of cinema has changed. There was a time when Lataji was reading Urdu to learn the diction so that she could be a better singer. Now, songs are different so Sunidhi didn’t have to do what Lataji did. So I think cinema is coming closer to the easy-spoken language and is changing with the language of the people but I think people who are making films should not go too far away from the language of Indian cinema.
Shah: That’s a problem with Indian mentality. We don’t like our own clothes, we don’t like our own music, we don’t like our own food. Eating Indian food is not very fashionable for a certain segment and that will continue. The trend always starts with those at the top and it starts melting. Listening to our Indian classical music is not happening.
Motwane: I mean you look at YJHD and you say it’s about urban kids, going on a trek on a mountain which is, kind of, very upper middle class. Of course they can have shaadi-vaadi but it’s urban. So where is the alternative?
Kapoor: This has a lot to do with the milieu we’ve created for ourselves in respect to cinema.
Motwane: And that’s precisely what Karan (Johar) did about 20 years ago with these super-cool kids in an aspirational movie.
Sippy: And he was clear about it. He went on to say that his films weren’t aiming for the hinterlands of India.
Kapoor: He even said that he has only seen villages in films! And it’s perfectly alright. The problem is when his reality and his kind of cinema starts raking in the big numbers and everybody else wants to replicate it.
Sippy: Even Ekta has been doing the same on television for years now with huge success. Clones work.