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?Chopra coterie? vs the rest

Yash Chopra?s snub of Akbar Khan is no longer an issue of another ego clash between titans, reports Piyush Roy.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2006 04:33 IST

Yash Chopra’s snub of Akbar Khan at the FICCI conference is no longer an issue of another ego clash between titans. Follwing HT Style’s report as it being an instance of Bollywood’s big-small divide, more and more industry members come out in Khan’s support, reinforcing it.

Filmmaker Pritish Nandy calls it the “beginning of the process of democratisation in the industry with opportunities no longer being a domain of the big fish.” That Akbar Khan and not one of the Bollywood biggies has been the architect of this momentous event has brought cheer to many.

The latest to join cause are representatives from the film industry like Shravan Shroff, Ratan Jain and the Association of Motion Pictures & TV Programme Producers of India president Pahlaj Nihalani, amongst others who, on Wednesday, launched a move to get more industry members and the government to come forward and acknowledge Khan’s achievement.

The big guys may have the money, but the small fry feels they have the numbers and a varied talent pool. “Our platform at FICCI has been hijacked by a select few for personal gratification and by not giving Taj Mahal’s Pakistan debut its merit it has lost a golden opportunity towards fostering Indo-Pak unity,” says Mahesh Bhatt.

“A divide has been created by Yash Chopra and his coterie to create a kind of atmosphere which is conducive to only a select few, whereby individual and smaller producers and filmmakers are being systematically marginalised at international and local platforms,” says Akbar Khan.

It has also led to a near blanket ban for small and medium level filmmakers in getting big stars for their projects. Contends, a leading producer and member of AMTPP, “A system has been created to monopolise a few handpicked actors in circulation within two-three banners, which unfortunately makes them inaccessible to a majority of the rest of the industry.” Echoes, Nandy, “With too many camps calling the shots today, merit has given way to power play and who’s aligned with whom, which is the tragedy of our industry.”

However, Amit Khanna, president of the Film Producers’ Guild of India while welcoming Khan’s Pakistan debut terms the attendant noise as “no controversy” saying “the ‘so-called’ ignoring of Akbar Khan at FICCI has been built out of proportion. It’s a larger body looking at various businesses and it’s brief isn’t limited to films alone.”

That Bollywood works in its camps and coteries is open knowledge, the consensus that needs to be arrived at is not to make “Akbar’s issue a tussle point between filmmakers.”

“That a relatively lesser known filmmaker has managed to open the gates of embargo on the commercial release of our films to Pakistan should be viewed as collective achievement and a road map should be prepared to take it further form here for the whole industry, instead of creating further divisions” says filmmaker Shashi Ranjan, who’s currently working on an Indo-Pak joint venture.

First Published: Mar 31, 2006 04:10 IST