Inside Viewhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/inside-view/

Inside View

Producer Ashi Dua on her passion project,Bombay Talkies,created and crafted especially to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema.

The Dreamcatcher

In India,cinema has often been the amalgamating force,a binder of people and a forger of friendships. Over the years,cinema has touched and moved our lives. It has given us hope,desire,faith and joy. We have grown up watching movies,idolising stars and more often than not,mimicking their expressions. While growing up,cinema wasn’t quite a part of my life. The reason being: I spent most of my formative years at a boarding school. But when I finished my schooling,all I wanted to do was watch films. I would lock myself in a room and watch around four to five movies daily,ranging from Bollywood to Hollywood and various other foreign language films.

The germ of making a business out of my passion for movies,perhaps grew then. But it was in college,when I was studying mass communication and media studies,that the thought became stronger. When I finished college in 2006,I immediately set up my company. While at it,in 2009,it struck me that in a few years we would be celebrating the centenary year of Indian cinema.

While I was pondering over the possibility of a film to celebrate the 100th year of cinema,a thought that struck me was the existence of two kinds of cinema under one roof. I wondered if Anurag Kashyap and Karan Johar could come together to make a film. Similarly,what if I got four directors,with four different sensibilities,to make short films and then present it as a whole. The idea may have sounded unrealistic but it wasn’t undoable. With that thought in mind,I rushed to Anurag Kashyap,with whom I had briefly worked during Dev.D. I kept my proposal in front of him and he quickly lapped it up.

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The biggest challenge now was getting the other three directors. To be honest,we did think of a few other big names but eventually it was Dibakar Banerjee,Zoya Akhtar and Karan Johar who agreed to come on board. The brief for them was just one line: Make a film which you have always wanted to,add a tinge of cinema’s influence in it and make it for the common man.

Anurag chose to tell the story of an Amitabh Bachchan fan,Zoya of a boy who is obsessed with Katrina Kaif and wants to become a dancer,Karan through his film wanted to show the impact of Bollywood music on relationships and Dibakar chose the story of a struggler in Bollywood.

With the movie now headed to the Cannes Film Festival for a gala screening,there is an overwhelming feeling of success. But the bigger victory would be if the Indian audience embraces it. After all,it is also the celebration of 100 years of the dreams of the common man.