One of the most delightful features about the ongoing Doha Tribeca Film Festival was the panels, and there were several with each as gripping as the other.
There were couple of sessions with Indian directors and actors, who were honest and forthright with their views, making the discussions extremely exciting.
Anupam Kher, who has now worked both in Bollywood and Hollywood, was scathing when he said that moviemaking in India “was like a family picnic”. Stars threw tantrums and had no qualms about reporting late on the sets. The attitude was irritatingly casual. Quite different from what he saw in Hollywood, where discipline mattered, and one could be fired “at the drop of a hat”. Even the top actors there followed rules and ethics.
Kher was in Doha to promote the Robert De Niro-starrer, Silver Linings Playbook, in which the Indian actor plays a psycho-therapist.
Kher, who has a Padmashree to his credit and about 450 films, praised Hollywood for its realism, subtleties and nuanced characterisations. Bollywood, on the contrary, went all out with melodrama, larger than life figures and exaggerations. These were no longer desirable.
Ashutosh Gowariker, who is on the jury for the Arab Feature Competition, felt that it was time India made a cinema that appealed to a larger audience, not just the one in India. “We need to tell stories that are relevant to the world at large and which deal with subjects that are universally appealing”, he said.
Gowariker whose Lagaan was one the three movies (along with Mother India and Salaam Bombay) to have been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Picture Oscar, thought it imperative that India made films which were tight and short. Audiences outside the country were not inclined to sit through a film that stretched beyond 120 minutes. In short, “international viewers do not want samosas in between”.