Thursday, June 28, 2012


BY ADIL RASHEED (Staff Reporter) / 11 January 2005

 "The absurd is deliberate," says the spontaneous Aziz Mirza. It is not an excuse but a technique of satire with which this eminent Indian film director-producer has married his socialistic outlook and realistic genre with the fantasy-tinted commercial productions of Bollywood.
How does a socialist like you reconcile with his ideals in the commercial filmmaking world of Bollywood?
Good question. But the important thing is that I am succeeding in marrying the two aspects. I make realistic films, which are commercially successful. It has been my belief that one has to make films about the common man in order to reach out to a wider audience. Fantasy films are forgotten soon. But movies which are socially relevant are remembered for a long time. Take Raj Kapoor's movies for instance and let me say here that even Mughal-e-Azam was a socialist film.
Was Mughal-e-Azam a socialist film? Are you talking about Anarkali being a commoner.
All I am saying is that there are elements in that movie, which are socialistic. Again, my films are modern. I do not ape western movies, but my films are quite modern in their approach and in the subjects they deal with.
But your film Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani was not successful in reaching out to the masses. It was a satire against the growing commercialisation of the media and the Indian polity, but there was a dichotomy in the message and the medium. The movie contained many formulaic scenes and songs, which are said to have been added later for commercial reasons. In the end the film appeared lopsided and it neither satisfied the socialists nor the audience?
The movie employed the so-called 'filmy' scenes as elements of the absurd, but the audience probably could not understand the spoof. It was all ironed out at the outset. The absurd in the movie is deliberate.
What I tried to show in the movie was how the hanging of an innocent old man was turned into a great advertising and PR circus by the media and the politicians. The story about the rape and murder of the old man's daughter and his subsequent revenge is a simple story shown umpteen times in movies. But that was not what I was focusing on. What I was showing in the movie was how the media announced a bumper prize for giving the right name of the hangman's wife.
But journalists took exception to their depiction in the movie, though the film shows two responsible scribes being instrumental in saving the old man's life. Let me also tell you that the film was well-received by the Leftists. I got a letter from the politician Sitaram Yechuri that he loved the movie. The film was screened by the Left parties during their May Day celebrations.
But you were not bold enough to take up such a theme again. You resorted to making a 'safe' romantic film Chalte Chalte which played to the galleries.
But it was not a bad film. I am not ashamed of making it.
But you wanted to make a hit film. It was your over-riding concern.
Yes! A hit film was important for me at that time. And Chalte Chalte was a big hit. But the movie is not an analysis of marriage. I repeat, it is not an analysis of marriage. The two lead characters are incidentally married.
Why do you think the Indian film industry, despite being the biggest in the world, is not taken seriously abroad. We have many Japanese and Chinese stars and directors in Hollywood, but very few from India make it out there. Who is to blame?
I think the media is to be blamed. We are simply too apologetic about our films and the way we make them. It's time that we stop being apologetic about our commercial constraints just as Hollywood isn't.
Secondly, we steal a lot from the West. We should stop it. It leaves us with little conviction to project the original work being done here. Unless, we admit our faults and accept our shortcomings we will not progress. We have to develop the faculty of innovation and experimentation. We just like driving on a straight road without moving the steering.
What are your forthcoming ventures?
I am planning to do a crossover film but I would not like to divulge more now. Obviously at 60 one does not engage in projects one likes doing at the age of 20.

No comments:

Post a Comment