SAAND KI AANKH : Bulls eye or market ploy?!

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Before Tapsee Pannu quits acting or Neena Gupta, Surekha Sikri or Shabana Azmi (god forbid) go out of job there is something beyond this age related debate surrounding the casting of this movie that needs to timelessly addressed.

Thanks to the marvelous insight of debutant director Tushar Hiranandani and producers like Anurag Kashyap, Reliance Entertainment and Nidhi Parmar. The extraordinary story of real courage, bravery and tremendous determination of octogenarian sharp shooters – shooter dadi and revolver dadi – Chandro and Prakashi Tomar, will be on silver screen this Diwali to inspire and motivate millions. BADHAI HO (congratulations).

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A few decades ago, cinema was divided into three prime categories – mainstream, art (avant – grade) and middle.

Mainstream was dominated with people like Kapoor, Khosla, Samantha, Desai. Mehra, Chopra etc.  The avant-garde was claimed by Kamal Swaroop, Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani and the ‘middle’ cinema saw the advent of Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalani, Kundan Shah etc. I consider Ray, Ghatak, Sen as guru’s who influenced the above.

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Today, the gap is shortened. We have BADHAI HO, SHUB MANGALAM SAVDHAN and NEWTON etc getting a release like mainstream and backed by top production houses.

In my opinion SAAND KI AANKH had the potential to be an avant – grade or middle cinema if the senior actors like Neena Gupta, Surekha Sikri or Shabana Azmi could have been casted. Just like the gap between the so called mainstream and art cinema is reducing, the gap between reel and real could have been reduced if the responsibility was in much capable and experienced hand.

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Here the director is a first timer like Tushar Hiranandani who had previously written scripts for A FLYING JATT, DISHOOM, MASTI SERIES, ABCD SERIES, HOUSEFULL2, FALTU etc.

So, SAAND KI AANKH will have a ‘filmy’ approach and will be targeting the bulls eye outside the screen ( I mean the box office window).

You cannot expect David Dhawan to bring the sensibility of ANAND even if he seriously tries to make a movie on the same subject or a remake.

So first of all to expect casting of veteran actors who may justify the age of the octogenarian sharp shooters Chandro and Prakashi Tomar from a first time director like Tushar Hiranandani is asking too much from him.

Tushar’s job is to make SAAND KI AANKH commercially viable and more acceptable for the producers who are packaging this as their big Diwali ticket. Remember there is no Khan, Devgn or Kumar this Diwali..

So maybe in the push and pull of art and box office results, more popular and certainly talented actress like Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu are zeroed down. Good choice but not the best choice.

The presence of Anurag Kashyap in my opinion is to ensure that things don,t go overwhelmingly OTT (over the top).

Neena Gupta just shared her view and she was right when she said, “ hamari umar ke role toh hum se kara lo” ( lets us do roles of our age). She just gave her opinion, which is normal and justified. We know how a section in social media behaves; they just need some point and start their rant.

Unfortunately it spread to such an extent that Taapsee Pannu recently reacted by saying “Ek kam karti hoon main acting karna chhod deti hoon (I will do one thing, I will stop acting), and only play characters of my age and girls from Delhi. 

Taapsee’s statement in my opinion is uncalled for and she went a bit far. Bhumi was more mature in her reaction when she said that she respects Neena ji and Soni ji. Hoping that they both change their opinion after watching the movie and said it was an opportunity of a lifetime to play Chandro Tomar.

Imagine the scenario when a more popular star like Tapsee starts bagging roles that could have been either played by veteran actors like Neena Gupta then who will quit acting?

Anyways all this is helping the movie and I hope after watching the movie many mouths get sealed and that includes mine as well and I will be glad.

Coming to the argument on actors playing roles of characters more or less their age – Anupam Kher in SAARANSH, Mr Bachhan in PAA, Priyanka Chopra in SAAT KHOON MAAF etc. Okay, Ranbir Kapoor in the ‘biopic’ SANJU ( Now how many would call SANJU  – true biopic or a true emotional father and son saga, a good movie beyond doubt but biopic? The debate is on). In Bollywood superstars play father and sons. Poor actresses play heroine and mom to the same actor in different movies. 

But there is a difference between fact and fiction. SAAND KI AANKH is a biopic of people who are alive.

Now many people know that the characters played by Bhumi Pednekar and  Taapsee Pannu in SAAND KI AANKH are of real life octogenarian sharpshooters Chandro and Prakashi Tomar aged 87 and 82 respectively.

The audience won,t mind if the movie delivers. We all have seen the trailers of SAAND KI AANKH starring Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu. Just for a while imagine the same with Shabana Azmi and Neena Gupta, or Surekha Sikri and Shabana Azmi or Surekha Sikri and Neena Gupta. What if Smita Patil was alive today..

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