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Big banners lose on creativity

By making the same age-old formulaic films, star banners fail to caste a spell at the box-office, writes Arnab Banerjee.

india Updated: Dec 16, 2006 18:54 IST

2006 has been quite a good year with some different movies like Rang De Basanti, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Dhoom 2, Omkara, Iqbal, Being Cyrus, to name a few, all of which made a huge difference to the cliché content which was present in Bollywood so far.

But just when we were celebrating Bollywood's re-invented look, come the same age-old formulaic films which would appeal neither to the young nor to the old, and certainly not to the worshippers of Balaji Telefilms soap operas.

This time it’s the big banners that are playing spoilsport, refusing to grow up and consitently following the same formula since eons. A case in point is Rajashri Films' 70s superhit Nadiya Ke paar that was remade as Hum Aapke Hain Kaun.

John Abraham and Rani Mukherjee in a still from Baabul.

The fault doesn’t lie in the stories that they come up with, nor the middle-class values that they try to illustrate to their audiences. The disappointing elements are not even the all-forgiving men and women who are righteous people and do no wrong.

What’s annoying is their weak scripts and the bad screenplay, which fails to strike a chord. So when the oh-so-perfect son gets killed in an accident in Baabul, all the characters except the audiences shed copious tears.

Futhermore, when the father (Big B in yet another role of a patriarch) embraces his daughter-in-law (Rani Mukherjee) as their daughter and tries to recreates a world for her - none except the huge starcast are moved.

Unlike BR Films and Ravi Chopra's earlier box office hit, Baghban, their newest venture Baabul  falls flat. Director Ravi Chopra has reasons to make us believe that some shameful archaic unwritten laws still have social acceptance in the 21st century.

Undoubtedly, he has all the masala that’s needed for a box-office hit. But what sticks out like a sore thumb is the characterisation, which seems to be straight out of the prime time saas-bahudramas.

Baabul looks as regressive as the hills, which, if it does even average business in small towns, might signal a death-knell for original and ground-breaking film-makers who are brimming with fresh subjects. But then, one can't really blame their bad sense of judgment when the five-decade-old banner cannot even so much as produce a plausible script.