In the history of Indian cinema, politics has always played an integral role, fascinating writers and film-makers. The main objective of using politics as a backdrop in the film is to portray real life drama in an entertaining manner. The political scenario in our country, has a direct implication on our lives. In fact, more often than not, both overlap. As a writer and director, it wasn’t a conscious effort to make a film on politics, but sometimes you are so fascinated by the subject and are swept away by your own thoughts, that a story automatically emerges. A similar thing happened when I made Chillar Party.
It is a big challenge, to convey a serious message in a light hearted, satirical manner. In Bhoothnath Returns, we were very clear about what we wanted to portray. Hence, it is imperative to have a clear mind, so that your thoughts get reflected in your writing. The film is a humorous take on the political system of our country. Not wanting to sound cliched, we used an innovative idea of a ghost standing for elections.
It is just a coincidence that our film released during election time. We had announced the release date of the film way in advance. Considering the political and social scenario today, the entire country wants a stable government, and all eyes are focussed on these elections.
As writers, we borrow heavily from reality. In a film with a political backdrop, we not only caricature our characters based on politicians, but also incorporate various facets of everyday life. Aandhi was one film with a political backdrop and an emotional relationship running through it that impressed me. It was a sensitive portrayal of man-woman relationship and the upheaval that politics brings into the life of the protagonists. The woman is torn between her political career and the turmoil that she goes through in her relationship with her husband.
Indian audience are interested in entertainment. They will accept a movie with politics as the leit motif, if it is made in an entertaining manner without sounding preachy. The audience, today wants refreshing, new stories to be told; films that they can enjoy with their family. It is not necessary that a film on politics should always be comical, even serious stories that are well made are accepted by filmgoers. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a biopic on athlete Milkha Singh, is the perfect example of a film that was made in an interesting manner, and was also a box-office success. If the director does justice to the genre, and makes a good film, the audience will certainly enjoy it.
Film-making is a disciplined and tedious process; it is not always easy to collate all your ideas and present it in an interesting manner. It stresses you both emotionally and physically. A lot of factors have to be taken into account, while making a film—the locations, sets, getting together a perfect cast and above all a strong script are the main ingredients required to make a good film. While casting for Bhoothnath…, each actor playing the characters were chosen with utmost care. Making a film is not only about what you are going to tell in your story, but it is also about how creatively you tell your story.
As told to Dhwani Mody