That ’70s Show

Amol Palekar celebrates the past era of light-hearted comedies through his next film.

Written by Rohan Swamy | Published: April 1, 2013 9:53:17 pm

Amol Palekar celebrates the past era of light-hearted comedies through his next film.

There is a pensive look on actor-director Amol Palekar’s face that eventually breaks into a broad grin as he settles down comfortably on the couch. Pleasantries exchanged,the conversation steers to his latest film We are On — Houn Jau Dya,a light-hearted comedy. “The film’s first frame says it is a tribute to the works of Basuda and Hrishida. My idea of a comedy was very clear. I couldn’t do the brainless ones that come out these days. It’s not how I am. Not when I was acting,nor as a director now. I have to go against the wave and have been successful till now. So when Sandhya (Gokhale) came up with the script for We Are On… I knew it was one of those old-fashioned comedies,which was complete and made you laugh,” he says.

Starring an ensemble cast comprising Ashok Saraf,Dilip Prabhavalkar,Makrand Ananspure,Manoj Joshi,Anand Ingale and Upendra Limaye among others,the film is Palekar’s first Marathi comedy,and the maiden production of his wife,Gokhale,under her banner Anaan Nirmitee. “We are On… essentially reflects two different ideologies — youngsters who are ready to take a challenge head-on and the older generation,who would say ‘houn jau dya’,which meant the same thing,” says Palekar.

The film reminds him of his own “common man travails” from the ’70s. “Those movies were everything that the ’70s weren’t. On one hand you had an out-and-out commercial flick like Amar Akbar Anthony and then there was Golmaal,with the latter winning Filmfare awards too. Akaashwani theatre in South Mumbai was a place where parallel films were shown and they garnered huge audiences in the ’70s,before the Emergency,which helped popularise my films too. For instance,Rajnigandha was playing there and people would say,‘naya hero hai,nayi heroine hai but picture acchi hain’. We don’t have those kinds of movies now,but we can try to make films that will appeal to the sensibilities of audiences while entertaining them,” he says.

The actor-turned director is not in favour of remakes,which seem popular with most filmmakers now. “Jisko banana hai banaye woh (whoever wants to make it,let them). I have no issues. Personally,I am not a big fan of these kind of movies. Then again,market,demands and consumerism are terms that dictate movie making now. It gets a little difficult at times. But I am happily old school and glad that I will never fall into the category,” he says.

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