Even as we celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema today, we have yet to stop blaming the industry for the ills that plague our society. From encouraging violence to social evils, cinema is blamed for everything! In the centenary year, I really hope this mindset changes. As it is, we are becoming even more regressive in our thinking. There are diktats not only on what should be portrayed, but also in what manner it should be portrayed!
I was watching Talaash recently and it was annoying to have the statutory warning keep popping up whenever any character pulled out a cigarette. As if to say that by showing that line, people will quit smoking! I am sure there are other ways to help people realise what is injurious to health. Now there are even issues about item numbers in films! I dread to think what is next?
Over the decades, films have always held a mirror to society. The early ’70s spawned the hippie culture. Case in point -- Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Earlier, it was more of family dramas including the “pativrata” films of the ’60s. The ’80s I feel was the worse decade of Hindi films as all kinds of rubbish seemed to have seeped in suddenly, also the reason why parallel cinema flourished in those days.
It was Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (released in 1988) that made people realise the need to make characters more believable. The ’90s heralded a stylish decade, where more attention was paid to styling like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in 1998. This was also the time when choreography and song picturisations underwent a sea of change. In the last decade, the entire look of the industry has changed with more and more people from non-filmi backgrounds stepping in.
Today, a filmmaker can make a project he/she believes in for a limited audience and still be successful. There are films now being made only for multiplexes. In this more-the-merrier scheme of things, there is place for everyone. I don’t consider myself a woman filmmaker anymore. I consider myself simply a filmmaker.
-- As told to Shaheen Parkar