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New direction for Content

October 22, 2009 5:17:51 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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History is one area that is seldom attempted on a regular basis by the Indian film makers. But there now seems to be some gravitation to this thought process in the wake of the success that JODHAA AKBAR has enjoyed. It has pointed to the fact that the annals of history, if packaged in an interesting manner, would indeed be welcomed by the Indian audience. Making of a biography on the life of Sonia Gandhi is a prime example. Two recent developments are worth talking about, as it could pave the way for either removing the cobwebs of secrecy surrounding the lives of the great leaders, one is the film being made on Pandit Nehru and other is a film being made about the life of RavindraNath Tagore. One more pointer about the acceptance of the stories based on life history of great leaders is the awards that were conferred on Anil Kapoor's film MAINE GANDHI KO NAHI MAARA by the Government of India, sidelining the films made by Aamir Khan's TAARE ZAMEEN PAR and Shah Rukh Khan's CHAK DE.

The films being made on the life of Pandit Nehru and Ravindra Nath Tagore are Joe Wright's film based on Pandit Nehru and Lady Edwina's story adapted from the novel written by Alex Von Tunzelmann's book "Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire", and Pablo Cesar, an Argentinean film maker, who is working on a film on Tagore's association with Victoria Ocampo- an Argentine writer with whom Gurudev supposedly shared an intimate association for about a decade. Interesting aspect in this development is that it is the foreign directors who are ready to delve into the realm of unknown, which perhaps an Indian filmmaker could have been in a better position to do justice to.

The first real attempt about making a film on the Indian political personality was done by I S Johar when he made KISSA KURSI KA which was a film based on the life of Sanjay Gandhi and it was banned by the government. Second attempt in this direction was made by Gulzar when he made AANDHI based on the life of Indira Gandhi. However, it was left to a Richard Attenburrough to tell India and the world how to make a biopic on big political leader when he made GANDHI. May be, Attenburrough could attain the success, owing to the fact that he had abundant resources at his command, which an Indian film maker could only dream about, the lack of technical competence being another handicap that the Indian filmmaker had to be content with.

After that, the politician without any resemblance to political leadership started dominating the film landscape, being projected more as an evil force, and its acme was reached when Paresh Rawal caricatured the role of Lalu Prasad Yadav in Ajay Devgan's film JIGAR. Before the advent of Paresh Rawal the role of the political leader was in a way patented by Manohar Singh, who emerged as the suave but scheming politician, his journey starting with affirmation with Amitabh Bachchan starrer MAIN AZAAD HOON. Shyam Benegal, who always was a man with difference showed it again when he interpreted the life history of Subhash Chand Bose by making the film of the same name SUBHASH CHAND BOSE-THE FORGOTTEN HERO and it was the first attempt by a mainstream filmmaker to make a film on this important political leader of the country. Lest we forget, the first creditable effort about making a film on a political leader was made by V Shantaram when he made DR. KOTNIS KI AMAR KAHANI.

May be, after this attempt of unraveling the life details of Pandit Nehru and Tagore, a new door would open for our filmmakers of the young variety to start looking at this area with a much focused interest.

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