King Khan Shahrukh feels that it is time to adapt ourselves to the world situation and cut our films down to size: at least in terms of duration.
Shahrukh, who was in New Delhi to participate in an 'In conversation with Karan Johar' slot in the two-day Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on 'Imagine the India that Can Be', said it may be difficult to cut down Indian films to 90 minutes as in the rest of the world, but they could certainly be reduced from the present 150 - 180 minutes.
He said this was also in keeping with the changing trends of seeing films in multiplexes, which could hold more shows in one day. 'Brevity has to be the soul of creation if we have to go international', he said.
Addressing a press meet along with Karan Johar, Shahrukh said that screenplay-writing was being treated as a science all over the world except India, where it was still seen as art. Filmmakers treated the audiences in the same manner as three or four decades earlier, whereas viewers were much sharper now and screenplays could be crisper. It was important that filmmakers gave due respect to viewers.
There was also need to 'marry technology with technique or get the right kind of manpower for handing the modern technologies available, he added.
He also stressed the need for aggressive marketing at international film festivals, adding that a film short listed for the Oscars needed full support despite the controversies that surrounded every selection. 'Controversies are good, because they show there is a lot of diversity in our cinema, but once a film is selected, we should back it up.'
He also felt films should now start concentrating on more positive aspects of the country and not merely on the negative or regressive aspects. The country is moving forward and there is much to celebrate, and therefore the films should be celebratory in nature. The main aim of a film is to entertain. But it is good if it is positive. He said CHAK DE was not about either hockey or against cricket. It was first and foremost a film about women empowerment and any sport would have been fine for the theme.
Asked if he would ever join politics as many of his peers had done, he said 'politics is like a job. One should have the state of mind for it.' He said those of the film industry who had gone into politics must have had public life somewhere in the back of their minds.
However, he said he may decide to diversify to direction or other fields in cinema. He said he would like to make action comic films and added, 'we have space for that kind of film'.
Answering a question, he said he had always acted in films of which he liked the story-lines and did not care who made them, but he said almost all the newcomers with whom he had done films became big filmmakers afterwards. 'I cater to what the people would like to see. I am not the master of my own destiny,' he added.
Asked why he had gone for a trimmer look, he said his own nine-year old son talked of his paunch and of the fact that other heroes had muscles. He therefore realized there may be other nine-year olds in the audience who may be feeling the same way.
On the release of OM SHANTI OM clashing with the release of SAAWAARIYA, he said 'you can come from the United States, but you cannot beat the Indians in entertainment.'
Accepting the greetings of media persons on the occasion of Id, he said he would have a very personal celebration with his family.
Karan said brevity was not his strong point and his shortest film had exceeded three hours. He may therefore find it difficult to cut them down to two hours as Shah Rukh had suggested. But he generally agreed that films should be shorter.
Interjecting at another point, he said television news channels gave enough of politics, and therefore there was no need to play up politics in cinema as well.
At another point, he said CHAK DE was his favourite film of all the releases of the past three or four years.