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Monday, July 23, 2018

The Common Man’s filmmaker

Amol Palekar is bringing back the comedies of ’70s through his next film and steering clear from the 100 crore-club.

Written by Rohan Swamy | Published: March 31, 2013 12:50:23 am

Amol Palekar is bringing back the comedies of ’70s through his next film and steering clear from the 100 crore-club.

There is a pensive look on actor-director Amol Palekar’s face,which eventually breaks into a broad grin as he settles down comfortably on the couch. Pleasantries exchanged,the conversation easily steers to his latest film We are On- Houn Jau Dya,a comedy that reflects the style of movies he famously acted in — light and entertaining.

“The film’s first frame says it is a tribute to the works of Basu da and Hrishi da. 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 I have been successful doing it. So when Sandhya (Gokhale) came up with the script of We Are On… I knew it was one of those old-fashioned comedies,which made you laugh and were complete,” he says.

Palekar,however,is disturbed by the unpleasant curiosity generated by the film and people accusing him of making a Marathi comedy only because the genre is a good money spinner. Palekar says when the movie was announced last September,he was asked the “same questions” over and over again. “I was very clear about my ideas. I was not going to make a brainless comedy with no story,a couple of lewd jokes thrown in and two-hour-long dull laugh riots. We make movies to tell stories. Profits and losses shouldn’t deter us,but mass market and consumerism demands are such that filmmaking is now done on the basis of finances. I know one thing for a fact though,the day I feel I cannot make movies,I’d hang my boots. For good,” he says.

In fact,another set of often-repeated questions about why he never made a “light comedy” like the ones he had acted in got things rolling for We are On… Starring Ashok Saraf,Dilip Prabhavalkar,Makrand Ananspure,Manoj Joshi,Anand Ingale and Upendra Limaye among others,the film has been penned by Gokhale,also Palekar’s wife ,and is the maiden production of her banner Anaan Nirmitee. “While one could call it a directorial nightmare,I didn’t feel so. Mainly because these people were all actors who I had either worked with,or had been friends with for a very long time. 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 in the ’70s. “Those movies were everything that the ’70s weren’t. On one hand,you had an out-and-out commercial flick Amar Akbar Anthony and then there was Golmaal,with the latter winning Filmfare awards too. The Akaashwani theatre in south Mumbai was a place where parallel films were shown and they had garnered huge audiences before the Emergency,which,too,had helped popularise my films. For instance Rajnigandha was playing there and people would say,‘naya hero hai,nayi heroine hai but picture acchi hain’. We don’t have these kind of movies anymore,but we can try to make films that will appeal to the sensibilities of audiences,while also entertaining them,” he says. Bring up another cliched topic of remakes and sequels and the grin plays back on his face. “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. But 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 with a laugh.

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