Reflections

We all love films. But our passion doesn’t end when we walk out of a theatre after three hours; it merely begins there.

Written by Dipti Nagpaul D'souza | Published:March 9, 2009 5:35 am

The industry is increasingly the favoured subject for filmmakers

We all love films. But our passion doesn’t end when we walk out of a theatre after three hours; it merely begins there. Our interest in the glitzy world of stars and their lives,cinematic techniques and musical abilities,is satiated by newspapers,magazine and television shows.

But with more and more films based on the goings-on behind the scenes,filmmakers are further feeding in to the curious common man.

A successful run by Zoya Akhtar’s Luck By Chance and a reasonable response to Shah Rukh-produced Billu,are encouraging signs. This week’s release,Umesh Shukla’s Dhoondte Reh Jaoge,a comedy that builds upon the glitz and glamour of the movies,only drives home the point.

While it’s a comfort zone for filmmakers,a subject they know only too well,Shukla points out it’s also a success formula that hardly fails. “Films till now have either been about subjects that the audience can relate to or stirred their aspirations. The world of cinema is a heady mix of both. Today,your average moviegoer can,at a certain level,relate to this world more than he ever did in the past. He also knows from the many rags-to-riches stories that this is one industry where everything is possible.”

Screenwriter Mushtaq Shiekh,who wrote Farah Khan-directed Om Shanti Om and more recently Billu,too agrees that such films feed on the audience’s curiosity: “The industry offers a strange dichotomy where while it’s the most exposed industry,it remains the most unresolved mystery. The audience is aware that there’s so much more to this eco-system than what they gauge through the media.”

The draw of such films also lies in the many “references” to Bollywood’s big names and the emulation of their mannerisms,which offer a sneak peak into the real world of these stars. After all,the filmmakers will draw from the world they live in. So while Om Shanti Om skimmed the surface,building upon real-life stories of veteran actors and their lives,Luck By Chance had stars like Aamir Khan and Akshaye Khanna offer a slice of their personalities through a mere scene or two.

Sheikh equates this phenomenon to a whodunit where the audience goes to the theatre merely to test their own knowledge and draw parallels. “A film buff loves it when he or she can figure out which star has been imitated or referred to.”

But such films aren’t merely a success formula for the filmmakers; the industry forms their universe and therefore finds its way into the stories they want to tell. Akhtar hence takes offence when her film is referred to as a spoof. “My first film is about the film industry probably because it’s the world I know and grew up in. But I don’t intend to poke fun at anyone. It’s my perspective of my world and while I have borrowed from elements in the industry,all characters merely build upon real people and are fictitious.”

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