South Indian filmmaker Priyadarshan who won a National Award for his social drama Kanjivaram, says that jealousy led people in Bollywood to stereotype him as a director of comedies and remakes.
The helmer of superhit comedies like Hera Pheri and Malamaal Weekly said that despite the unrequited tag he has no plans to wash his hands off commercial comedies.
"The whole problem is that, unfortunately I have been successful. In the history of Indian cinema I am the only South Indian director who has survived for 12 years and 25 films in Bollywood. It is jealousy that leads people to tarnish you," Priyadarshan told PTI.
The filmmaker who claims to be the "only successful South Indian director" in the industry said that he finds commercial cinema a tougher genre than off-beat ones.
"Just because I won the National Award, does not mean I plan to become the next Shyam Benegal or Adoor. Realistic non-commercial films offer you a lot more liberty as a director than a usual film.
"On the other hand while making a commercial film you are constantly thinking, will the mass audience like this, will they accept this. It is a lot more difficult to make a typical Bollywood film than a realistic film," says Priyadarshan who was in the capital for the Delhi International Arts festival.
"I don't mind any tags until they pay me well," said the filmmaker who along with his good friend, actor Mohanlal created cult hits in Malayalam like Chitram and Kilukkam.
Priyadarshan whose next film is a typical Bollywood laugh riot De Dana Dhan starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, believes that he is doing a social service through his comedy films.
"I am actually doing social service by making comedies, because making people laugh is the most difficult thing to do. When people come and watch a film of mine, I am helping them forget their troubles, isn't that social service," said Priyadarshan adding that he now wants to strike a balance between his commercial and off-beat ventures.
"I enjoy doing commercial cinema and it gives me fame and money while the other gets me recognition. I want both. I am currently shooting for a film with Ajay Devgan and Akshaye Khanna, about Bihar and there is a film with Aamir Khan about AIDS," said Priyadarshan.
After 25 years in the industry, the filmmaker is happy that due recognition has finally come his way and says that his film was an attempt to showcase the true India, which in his words is not "a slum, like some people would like to believe."
"India is a cultural superpower, a nuclear superpower. It is not a slum like some people would like to believe. When I was making Kanjivaram, I wanted to make a film that would showcase India's heritage, it's culture and history," said Priyadarshan.