Lengthy films ready to dominate in 2007
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
It looks like the era of shorter films has had its day with several long films lined up for release in 2007.
'Guru', the first wannabe epic tale of 2007, overran the stipulated three-hour duration... And just two weeks later Nikhil Advani rolled out 'Salaam-e-Ishq', an even lengthier tale.
At three hours 30 minutes, 'Salaam-e-Ishq' is at least an hour longer than the time allotted under the multiplex culture.
'I'm sorry if I'm not abiding by the instruction manuals of the multiplexes. For me, it's more important to say what I have to than to live by marketing laws. It was important for me to make the film that I wanted to... no matter what lengths I had to go,' Advani told IANS.
'Yes, 'Salaam-e-Ishq' is a lengthy film by today's yardsticks. It's got six different stories. So, I've basically made six different films and put them together,' he added.
In fact, Advani was tempted to add another half an hour of footage, so that every couple would have 30 minutes to have its say.
'I plan to add extra footage to the DVD version of 'Salaam-e-Ishq'. Am I being self-indulgent? I don't think so. I've edited the film in rapid-fire motions. 'Salaam-e-Ishq' tells the story it has to. It takes its own time. And I think audiences today are impatient with boring films not lengthy films.'
While the multiplexes will grumble about reducing the number of shows per screen for Advani's film, they'll soon have to deal with Vikram Bhatt's new venture 'Life Mein Kabhi Kabhie', which is currently touching the dreaded four-hour playing time.
'It's the story of five protagonists - Dino Morea, Aftab Shivdasani, Sammir Dattani, Anjori Alagh and Nauheed Cyrusi. Each one needs the space required to tell his or her story,' said Bhatt.
'After shooting, I don't know what to cut. It's easier when there's one linear plot. But with five different stories you can't edit any section without the narration looking lopsided.'
It's not as though only the episodic films are casualties of excessive running time.
Many of this year's biggies including Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Saawariya', Vidhu Vinod Chopra's 'Eklavya', Ram Gopal Varma's 'Sholay' and Ashutosh Gowariker's 'Jodha-Akbar' are expected to exceed the length that's considered ideal in recent times.
Small is no longer big in the theatres.
Aditya Chopra's four-hour long 'Mohabbatein' was the last film to require two intermissions during its running time. Maybe that's the solution for the cafeterias in the multiplexes to make their profits during lengthier films in lieu of more shows.