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A league of his own

It was almost an occasion to celebrate when,last week,eminent filmmaker Aziz Mirza emerged from his lair to participate in the press launch of Red Chillies Idiot Box’s sitcom Ghar Ki Baat Hai.

Written by DIPTI NAGPAUL D’SOUZA |
February 4, 2009 12:21:45 am

Veteran Aziz Mirza is back with NDTV Imagine’s Ghar Ki Baat Hai

It was almost an occasion to celebrate when,last week,eminent filmmaker Aziz Mirza emerged from his lair to participate in the press launch of Red Chillies Idiot Box’s sitcom Ghar Ki Baat Hai. The low-profile creative director of the show,begged proprietor Shah Rukh Khan to let him stay out of limelight but Khan just wouldn’t listen.

On the eve of the show’s premiere on NDTV Imagine,Mirza,who had done a vanishing act after Kismet Konnection,expressed his contempt for “the way most events these days turn out to be”. “I think I’ve become a recluse in my old age. I don’t like being a part of this strange culture of parties that has recently emerged. I prefer to be left alone.”

The 62-year-old has been brought back from his self imposed hiatus by Khan who succeeded in convincing him to guide the team,led by Anant Mahadevan,since comedy has been Mirza’s forte. “Shah Rukh and my relationship goes back 2,000 years! We’ve been associated from the time we were both doing television.” So when Idiot Box came up with the show idea,he asked his team to bounce everything off Mirza. “Every time they’re ready with a few episodes,they come to me. I tell them what I think and leave the rest to them.”

Mirza agrees comedy can get tricky as one tends to get carried away. “And that’s where my responsibility rests—to bring these children back on track.” Naturally,the filmmaker,who has given the country timeless shows like Nukkad and Circus,misses the days when “learned people like Gulzar and Manohar Joshi made television shows”.

And understandably,he isn’t happy with the direction television has taken since then. “I just don’t like comedy these days,I’m not in favour of making fun of someone who stammers or falls – it’s derogatory. Making fun of communities too is in poor taste. Why are Christians always shown drunk or Sikh portrayed as bumbling fools?” The filmmaker says it’s the dialogue that makes the show. “One needs to think about the political,societal and economic state of the country. Anant comes from an educated background and is sensible enough to consider these factors. I like the way the show is looking,” he says.

Mirza hopes to start work on his next film later this year and confirms that,like all his films,it will tell the story of a common man. “But this time,it explores the world of the lower strata and my common man isn’t very educated,” he adds. He hasn’t decided the cast yet though. “I first need to finalise the script; I’m in no hurry.”

Indeed,for the grand old man is planning a road trip to Punjab “and maybe Corbett National Park”. “There’s so much one can do besides making films. I take my driver and my essentials and pack off whenever I feel like. If friends or family want to join in,they’re most welcome. Otherwise,I’m fine on my own.”

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