Anjum Rajabali, the scriptwriter of Prakash Jha’s Arakshan, is now doing another Jha film, Chakravyuha, based on the Maoist rebellion movement. “It’s a realistic film and I think Abhay (Deol), Arjun (Rampal) and others will do a great job in it,” says Rajabali.
The man whose scripts tread the fine line between mainstream and parallel cinema believes that the concept of ‘mainstream’ has changed over the years. “The definition of mainstream cinema is now something that appeals to a wider audience,” he explains. “But at one point, ‘mainstream’ cinema was something that had all the conventional elements of a typical Hindi movie.”
It was Ardh Satya (1983) that made filmmakers and audiences alike change their perspective of movies, he says, explaining: “Ardh Satya (which starred Om Puri, Smita Patil and Amrish Puri), wasn’t a typical Bollywood movie. The actors did nothing but showcase their talent, putting together a film that was real and believable. There was no dancing around trees. Now, 30 years later, people have started to get over masala movies. They are open to newer ideas.”
And these ideas often come from scriptwriters, adds Rajabali, who is part of the creative advisory panel of the Mumbai Mantra Sundance Institute Screen-writers Lab 2012. He says, “This is a fabulous initiative. Good writers need encouragement. It’s a simple funda — a good script can make a great movie. At the same time, a good script can also make a horrible movie. That’s in the hands of the filmmakers. But it’s a fact that a good movie can never be made without a powerful script.”