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Love triumphs over erotica
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
A classical treatment of love has triumphed over erotica this Diwali season, with "Veer Zaara" and "Mughal-e-Azam" doing brisk business.
Says Bihar's prominent exhibitor Roshan Singh, "The spectacular opening of 'Veer Zaara' was only to be expected. But no one thought the film would get such an unprecedented opening.
"There's a stampede to see the film even after the big Diwali-Eid weekend is over. Hats off to the Yash Chopra-Shah Rukh Khan combination."
The twosome had earlier given such maddeningly big hits like "Darr", "Dil To Pagal Hai" and "Mohabbatein" - directed by Yash Chopra's son Aditya. "Veer Zaara" is expected to outstrip all the earlier Chopra-Shah Rukh films barring "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge", again directed by Aditya.
Why is a section of the film industry bad-mouthing "Veer Zaara" in spite of its unqualified success? Yash Chopra smiles and shrugs of the simulated scepticism of a section of the trade.
"I can't pretend my film isn't successful when it is, can I? I guess our uninterrupted success does bother a lot of people," he says.
The open-hearted acceptance of a film completely free of sleaze and sex, replete with an innocence and purity that seemed to have seeped out of romantic films, shows that Indian audiences react from their hearts.
The simultaneous success of "Veer Zaara" and "Mughal-e-Azam" is also acutely indicative of what the audience wants. And it isn't erotica.
Though the two other Diwali releases "Aitraaz" and "Naach" were both sophisticated in their packaging of erotica and featured upmarket stars, they found minimal acceptance from the audience.
While many critics think "Naach" to be Ram Gopal Varma's best work to date, and Priyanka Chopra in "Aitraaz" has found a new level in her career, the rather abrupt rejection of the two films suggests that some media commentators are totally disconnected from reality.
Even if they think "Naach" is the finest film of the Diwali foursome, moviegoers don't agree.So what are the lessons to be learnt from the Diwali bonanza? That the audience isn't keen on a 'different' kind of entertainment. Both "Aitraaz" and "Naach" offered a novel kind of movie experience. But were rejected by the audience. On the other hand they embraced the comfort of the familiar with both arms.
In fact the experiment with colour-reinvented class in "Mughal-e-Azam" has been so successful that many filmmakers with black-and-white classics on their hands feel they're sitting on goldmines.