Priyadarshan: One cannot survive in Bollywood without focusing on entertainment

Published: Jan 21, 2020, 08:38 IST | PTI | Mumbai

Veteran filmmaker Priyadarshan in an interview talks about his next Hungama 2, and what kept away from Bollywood

Priyadarshan. Pic/mid-day archives
Priyadarshan. Pic/mid-day archives

Veteran filmmaker Priyadarshan, who returns to Hindi cinema after seven years with Hungama 2, says he kept away from Bollywood as he felt there was not much scope for experimentation. In the last seven years, Priyadarshan has directed Geethaanjali, Oppam and Aamayum Muyalum in Malayalam and Tamil films Nimir and Sometimes.

Bollywood's affinity to mass entertainers can be creatively stifling, the director said. "I take cinema in South seriously. I don't put seriousness in Bollywood movies. Because in Bollywood, people want entertainment even if it has no meaning. One cannot survive in Bollywood without focusing on entertainment," Priyadarshan told PTI in an interview.

Citing the example of his National Award-winning 2008 film Kanchivaram, which revolved around a poor weaver's plight, the director said, "In Hindi film industry, the maximum one can do is try and make a film like 'Badhaai Ho' or 'Andhadhun', but if I want to make something of the level of 'Kanchivaram' it is impossible. If I will make that kind a film, it will have no traction."

The director believes his last few years weren't the best phase in his life, which adversely impacted his work. "Because of my personal issues, last few years were not well. Then, I made a film ('Geethaanjali') with Mohanlal. It worked and gave me some inspiration."

Priyadarshan made his directorial debut in Hindi with 1992 film Muskurahat and went on to direct critically-acclaimed dramas "Gardish" and "Virasat", the films which gave a new dimension to the careers of Bollywood mainstream actors Jackie Shroff and Anil Kapoor. The director, however, became a popular name in North India with his comedies such as Hera Pheri, Hungama, Hulchul, Bhagam Bhag, Malamaal Weekly and Chup Chup Ke. These films made him a pioneer in the genre but it also pigeonholed him, the director said.

"I started here with movies like 'Gardish' and 'Virasat' but because of 'Hera Pheri', I got fixed into this block of comedy films. Now, I have decided that I will do my experimental cinema in South and entertainers in Bollywood. I now know how to channelise my energies in the right direction."

Hungama 2, produced by Venus Films, is the second film in the franchise which started with 2003's Hungama. Priyadarshan said the producers believed that no other filmmaker could replace him in that space, hence he decided to return to Hindi movies with his favourite genre.

"When people tell me that my films make them smile, I feel like I'm doing a social service by making these light-hearted comedy movies. So I don't feel bad about being famous for comedies. Maybe people won't take me as a great director but I feel the most difficult thing to do is to make people laugh," he said.

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