Monday 23 September 2013

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 197

Talking Cinema iv

The elusive Mani Ratnam post Yuvva was disillusioned by the Hindi film industry, he felt disheartened by the critics and for the first time let his guards down and spoke from the heart. AR Rhman the only music composer featured in the book and forever inaccessible was interviewed standing in the lawns at the music release of Swades. It was a surreal moment and Rahman was at his spiritual best.

Amitabh Bachchan features as a subject in Anurag Kashyap’s story in Bombay Talkies celebrating 100 years of cinema because it’s difficult excluding an actor who has contributed 44 significant years of a centenary in cinema. Yet in the year 2000 filmmakers were unsure in what roles to cast the 58 year old superstar. He was too charismatic to play ordinary father roles and too loved to be accepted as a villain so it took many trials and errors for the audience and the camera to figure out how the mega star will play his next innings. Some filmmakers surprisingly still perceived him as a cop even if director Govind Nihalan’s Dev was diametrically different from Rajkumar Santoshi’s Anant Srivastav in Khakee. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s conceived him as a teacher in Black a role he had played in his long career.

These conversations reflect an era and a mindset. This was the pre-corporate and pre- artiste manager phase, when promotions did not determine content and entertainment was not marketing! When actors were not brands, when pace of life and work was leisurely and cinema was about emotions not about 100 crores..!

Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya


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