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What kind of film works for today's audiences?

March 26, 2008 6:23:06 PM IST
Bollywood Trade News Network
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Eminent Bollywood film makers and directors - Ramesh Sippy, Shimit Amin, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Sudhir Mishra -put their heads together here today to answer the million dollar question: What kind of film works for today's audiences?

The platform was Day-2 of FICCI-FRAMES 2008 that has seen overall participation upwards of 2,000 of entertainment and media professionals, including 140 industry leaders from abroad. The participation of countries has gone up this year to 18 from 15 last year, indicating that the mega event continues to receive the top billing amongst entertainment and media conventions across the world.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who has enthralled audiences with films like PARINDA, 1942: A LOVE STORY, the MUNNA BHAI series, EKLAVYA and MISSION KASHMIR, pointed out that there was no simple or ready answer as to the audience preferences. "All we try to do is to make a film that we believe in, and we try to be honest to our art." While it is easy to put a finger, at hindsight, with the aid of statistics and trends, on the kind of films that should be made, the fact is that when a film maker sets out to make a film, it is his passion and belief that urges him forward. "The truth is that even after seeing a film it is not always possible to predict how it will do at the box office. SHOLAY and MUNNA BHAI, were cases in point, which opened to small audiences for weeks, but later blossomed into blockbusters," he pointed out.

Shimit Amin, the director and editor that gave us CHAK DE! INDIA and AB TAK CHAPPAN, echoed the sentiments of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, saying that "Film making is a passion. There has to be something crazy in the film maker. It is an endless game, but so long as there is passion to keep trying and be innovative, we, as film makers, will derive satisfaction."

Sudhir Mishra, director and script writer, renowned for directing critically acclaimed films like HAZAARON KHWAISHEIN AISI, DHARAVI and CHAMELI, likened film making to an "act of arrogance", backed hopefully by a craft, knowledge and sensitivity. "A film should be judged by its impact on the people. If the audiences leave the cinema hall happy, the film should be rated as good. That's the yardstick," he said.

Mr. Ramesh Sippy of SHOLAY fame, who moderated the panel discussion, felt there was no such thing as an ideal film. "Yes, there was a time when films were made to appeal to as wide a section of people as possible. That was the era of formula films. It worked for a while, but people became fed up with such stereotypical films." He agreed with the observation that there were too many people deciding what is right and what is wrong. But a good film maker is one who keeps his counsel and does what he thinks is right, he observed.

Giving the international perspective was David Martin, CEO, Film Producers' Guild of the UK, who said that trends emanating from the UK and the US showed that the younger set preferred the big-scale, big-banner, visual effects-driven movies, while the older people chose to see drama with high production value. The challenge, he said, was how new partnerships can be developed on a global scale which maximize the 'big bang' at the least cost.


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