The European Directors Not Quite Out Yet
Wednesday 01 March 2017 12.00 IST
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Rangoon has come and gone and sent shock waves through the industry with how bad results can be. It affects all involved in the film with the studio suffering the most with huge financial loss and this hurts as its not as if the studios are very active in terms of acquisition or production. It is a sad state affairs but there is a plus as its puts the value of another European director in perspective for the industry. These directors basically have an alien story telling style and narrative as far as the audience is concerned and seem to be influenced by the European art cinema circuit though they probably don't know much about that either in reality as if you are not from there you don't really understand the culture and finer points those films are trying to tell.

 

 

But in India these types probably think knowing about this cinema makes them intellectuals which is far from the truth as you don't become intellectual knowing about cinema be it European, Indian or any other cinema. We have seen other European directors bite the dust like Anurag Kashyap (Bombay Velvet) and Dibaker Banerjee (Detective Byomkesh Bakshi) and now its Vishal Bharadwaj. There has always been a parallel cinema in the film industry for years and they made small films so when only a few people watched them nobody really got hurt financially.

 

The scenario has changed in the last few years as these type of directors started making bigger films as obviously they also want to make money even though they may pretend the financial side does not matter and they do it for art whatever that is supposed to mean. To make money you can't be doing 5 crore films and they find that out fast. They have been aided by corporates and some of the younger stars who only get a gist of things when the debacle comes and the career is on the verge of crashing.

 

These directors are like a disease in the industry which is crippling the foundations of one of the very few film industries around the world which has withheld the threat of Hollywood. Vishal Bharadwaj, Dibaker Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap will probably have to go to smaller films as they won't get the crores to make films after their debacles but the problem is this breed does not just stop with these guys. There are many but the ones left getting some sort of cast be it stars or mini stars are Imtiaz Ali, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Basu. All these guys probably don't have any clue what a desi Hindi film is. We won't use the word commercial Hindi film as there is a difference as many times commercial films are not desi and earthy and take a beating. 

 

The likes of Imtiaz Ali, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Basu have got better numbers than than the others but that is they have worked with bigger stars and Imtiaz Ali out of all these also has a sense of music as far the audio is concerned though is not able to bring it out well visually. The last named director even has a 100 crore nett grosser but how it happened only god knows. A Barfi! can always work regionally (specifically Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata) but how the numbers came in Punjab and Delhi city to take to 100 crore is just a one of those unexplained things and happens once in a decade or even once a century. The issue is not that it happened but it was probably taken as real even though the horrible television results should put doubt there about the real appreciation of the film.

 

The director makes or break a film and to get the house in order its down to producers and studios to have a correct value of films by these directors who try and sell weird cinema in the name of Hindi cinema. They can have the stars but they are not going to give the star the results that the producer / studio will desire and the downside could be anything as seen by Rangoon and Bombay Velvet as the wider audience does not care for this cinema.

 

The ones who really suffer are the actors and many will say they deserve it for the bad choices but the problem is when its a good actor like Ranbir Kapoor who despite being a talent is still trying to find a footing because of the debacles by these directors. Eventually the industry needs the good actors to do well to survive as there are not many. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil may have done better but its more damage control rather than eliminating the damage. Now there is Shahid Kapoor after Rangoon who is not even talented as Ranbir so it will be even harder for him.

 

The next film for Imtiaz Ali is a Shahrukh Khan starrer and obviously it will be the biggest Imtiaz Ali grosser (this is not hard) due to the star power of Khan but if its again a European director making a Hindi film it will not get the numbers that a Shahrukh Khan film should, its pretty much simple as that. We saw with Raees that it looked a masala film from the promos but that inkling of it being an interpretation of a mass film by Excel Entertainment came true (LINK). 

 

 

Anurag Basu has Jagga Jasoos with Ranbir Kapoor and all you can hope is that the best young talent we have can get away with it without a another big jolt but Barfi! was a fluke and if the storytelling style is the same you can't get away with it twice.

 

The less said about Zoya Akhtar the better as even the songs have a European influence, a film like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara even has a half Spanish song and on top the three actors sing the song who don't exactly sound like a Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar or Mukesh so what is the need when there are professionals to the job. Here maybe there is a reason as the film is partly set in Spain but even the tunes of other somgs be it Dil Dhadakne Do or Luck By Chance sound foreign.  The relatability to a Zindagi Na Milegi Dbbara and Dil Dhadakne Do is zero for the audience and both films had casts which should give higher numbers and on top were total disasters on television which means forgotten films in a space of weeks.

 

There is absolutely nothing Indian in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Dil Dhadakne Do be it culture or values despite being family films. Now the cast is weaker as its reported to be Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt. Zoya Akhtar who makes films on rich people is now making some sort of film on a poor rapper as probably thinks the below par results of earlier films were because they were on rich people so now will go poor which is laughable because the same problems in story telling and narrative will still probably be there if th European hat is on. Ranveer Singh is on a sticky wicket after Befikre and till date his two main hits are period films which appealed to particular regions in a big way and this film has the potential to put another young actor down.

 

Its fine for these European directors to make films in Hindi (no doubt it sounds weird) but it has to kept to a level. Some are down to a level but others are not and debacles from these directors will be no surprise in the time to come as the signs are there with all of them giving low numbers for the casts they have been getting. 

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