No more films for now: J.P. Dutta
Showbiz is a cruel world - and it gets even more so for a lion in exile.
By Subhash K Jha, IANS
Ask Sooraj Barjatya.
Until recently, he was regarded as one of six maverick moviemakers in Mumbai, alongside Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Karan Johar, Rakesh Roshan, Ram Gopal Varma and Yash Chopra.
That was until Barjatya made and released "Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon". Now, within months, he has waltzed from "wow" to "woe" without missing a beat.
The case of J.P. Dutta is even more shocking.
Known and revered by the entire industry as the last of the dying breed of movie moguls, his latest film "LOC" has sent his entire extended family of sons and daughters within the film fraternity scurrying into invisibility.
Sunday was JP's birthday. The crowd and clamour of camaraderie and glamour at the Duttas' residence was far less dense than last year.
"No one called except Abhishek," JP admitted candidly.
Evidently, Bollywood has no appetite for movie moguls who have delivered non-successes at the box office.
It happened to Raj Kapoor after "Mera Naam Joker", Kamal Amrohi after "Razia Sultan" and Yash Chopra after "Faasle" and "Vijay".
"It happening to me now," said JP, who hasn't lost his laughter or sense of humour.
"My favourite song nowadays is the one the filmmaker played by Guru Dutt sang in 'Kaagaz Ke Phool - Dekhi zamaane ki yaari bichde sabhi baari-baari'."
Fortunately, I've my father, wife and kids to keep me from falling apart. I don't know what I'd have done without them at this time."
And now he's adamant on not making a film in Mumbai any longer.
"You tell me. What more can I do here? Can any film get any bigger than "LOC'? The audience isn't coming to watch films any longer. They're staying home to see Ekta Kapoor's serials. I don't think I can make films under these conditions."
What prompted this drastic decision?
The savage treatment meted out to "LOC" truly disillusioned and shocked the filmmaker. But beyond that, the cold shoulder given to the war epic in this year's National Awards proved the final straw.
Apparently, the film was completely sidelined by the National Awards because it was found to be not conducive to improving India-Pakistan relations.
When Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf spoke against Paki-bashing in Hindi films, he had drawn a direct reference to "LOC". Apparently it was found to be unbecoming for the powers-that-be in New Delhi to honour a film Pakistan found hostile.
Dutta shakes his head.
"I don't know how far this is true. If it is, then I'm sorry to say I've lost faith in our power structure completely. These last six months have taught me a lot about human nature and how failure affects those around you. Really, I've had quite enough!"