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Piyush Jha: SIKANDAR isn't jingoistic



August 20, 2009 4:35:00 PM IST
Joginder Tuteja, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Piyush Jha (not be mistaken for Piyush Mishra) started his career with a youth flick CHALO AMERICA (1999). A small budget film, it was a light hearted take on the fascination that millions of youngsters have for America. The film's cast was led by Ashish Chaudhry who was pretty much a young boy then. Piyush followed it up with the Bollywood satire KING OF BOLLYWOOD (2004) which was about this aging evergreen hero [played by Om Puri] who refused to face reality and call it a day in showbiz.

5 years after the release of KING OF BOLLYWOOD, Piyush changes genre once again and comes up with SIKANDAR, which as per him is a quintessential Bollywood commercial fare but boasts of a meaningful story that he believes in. Also, his protagonists this time around are teenage children - Parzan Dastur (of KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI fame) and Ayesha Kapur (of BLACK fame).

Considering the fact that SIKANDAR comes with an intense story due to which working with children may have been quite difficult, how did he explain certain complex situations and happenings to the kids?

"I would not like to call them kids, they are young adults", he sets records straight right away, "I am lucky to have leads which are intelligent actors. Parzan is sixteen actually but he looks younger. But all the kids now days are very accepting and understanding of situations that are beyond their age. And there are few areas that they are more knowledgeable than I am, especially computers."

CHECK OUT: SIKANDAR Movie Preview

Though the film has children in the lead, SIKANDAR isn't essentially a children's film. Since the film has a disturbing backdrop, how appropriate is it for the kids to watch the film?

"The subject is very relevant for both kids and adults; especially kids as it directly affect them", says Piyush. "The young minds today are forced to do things which are not of their understanding. It's very important to understand why they are lured off from the path of good. Firstly, it was only in war affected areas like Kashmir but now it is happening in other small towns of India too. So for me it became more important to have kids as protagonists and it's important for the parents to see the film and understand their kids better."

He goes on to add, "Yes, SIKANDAR deals with violence, but the central theme of the film is that of peace. The film does not have a jingoistic or partisan point of view, and does not take sides, except the side of humanity."

CHECK OUT: SIKANDAR Music Review

Talk about a film based in Kashmir and two immediate thoughts that come to mind are - a) It will involve a terrorism angle, b) It will aim at conveying a message in the end.

"You are right about the first part to some extent though the second part isn't entirely true", smiles Piyush Jha the director of this Parzan-Ayesha starrer. "Even otherwise, the terror element is just a backdrop. Otherwise the film is mainly centered on the story of this young teenage boy called Sikandar (Parzan), who stumbles upon a pistol. How events unfold from this point on forms the narrative of SIKANDAR."

How about the messaging part? "No, SIKANDAR is not a traditional message oriented film", comes an outright denial from the young filmmaker, "I have not set myself up to making some boring issue based cinema. I can't blame the general perception though if one feels that SIKANDAR could be on the same lines. After all, you do get that tag once you film a movie in Kashmir."

CHECK OUT: SIKANDAR is a positive film

In fact the director of KING OF BOLLYWOOD and CHALO AMERICA insists that his own sensibilities do not allow him to venture into such subjects. "Honestly, I myself get bored with such kind of cinema where audience end up saying that intentions were good but the execution is boring", says Piyush, "Come on, what's the point of making such cinema which can't keep the audience engaged enough. I wanted to make a story which is exciting and keeps the audience involved from beginning till the end. SIKANDAR stays on to be a suspense thriller."

Piyush believes that if at all there is a message to be conveyed, it has to be more implicit rather than explicit. "You can convey a message only if you have your viewer interested in the story that you are trying to tell. If you try to hammer across a point, it will only end up hurting people's throats. I don't want to do that; I don't want to shout from the rooftops that I have made SIKANDAR for the sake of humanity", says Piyush honestly, "Sorry, those were never my intentions to begin with. More than anything else, first of all I want my audience to enjoy the cinematic experience and then think about the other subtexts."

Also starring R. Madhavan, Sanjay Suri and Arunoday Singh in principal roles, SIKANDAR is a co-production of BIG Pictures & Sudhir Mishra and is releasing this Friday.



 


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