No masala in Lok Sabha elections: Film directors

PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Kolkata
May 08, 2004 06:56 PM IST

Roadshows and raths, campaign trails and exit polls ? all ingredients for a pot-boiler, but film makers are not interested.

The impassioned cries for votes, the high voltage sparring between political parties, roadshows and raths chasing votes on the roughest of campaign trails, exit polls to set pulses racing - all ingredients for a probable pot-boiler, but film makers do not find masala enough in the general elections for scripting a movie.

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Internationally respected film maker Mrinal Sen, who ended his long break in direction in 2002 with 'Amar Bhuban', responds cautiously "I cannot rule out the possibility of making a film in future."

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He says, "As a socially committed film-maker if I feel enthused by an issue which concerns people and think that I can put the view across the way I want to, I take up that subject.

"But how I propose to go about it is something I cannot go into now."

Buddhadeb Dasgupta, recipient of the 'Best Director award' more than once, says, "No, I have never done any film on elections as I only do films I am comfortable with."

Asked to elaborate the poet-director says, "I am not particularly enthusiastic about vote politics."

It is unchartered waters for Dasgupta, who interweaves nature and human beings in his celluloid portrayals. He confesses "I don't know much about present day politics either."

"I want to speak about my own views which are not much related to vote politics," Dasgupta says when pressed further.

Sandip Ray is also not too particularly enthusiastic about elections as the backdrop for a film.

"No I have never done any film on elections. I have never thought of adding an election sequence or even portraying a political candidate in my work."

Speaking of his illustrious father, Satyajit Ray, Sandip, who grew up helping him in making films, says, "I think baba (father) also never consciously contemplated a vote-centric film. Perhaps he did not think the subject could fit in with his story ideas."

Goutam Ghosh, whose sequel 'Abar Aranya' of Satyajit Ray's classic, 'Aranyer Din Ratri' (Days and Nights in the Forest), says, "With the spate of corruption after Independence and the rot that has set into our system, cynicism has gripped the people. They are no more enamoured about elections, which is undoubtedly the largest exercise in democracy."

Going down memory lane he cannot name a contemporary feature film on elections. "But there were Bengali comedies like 'Dada Thakur' in the late 50s which lampooned the elections."

Popular Bengali film director Raja Sen says people are 'not interested in politics' to want to see a film woven around a general election.

"Tell me, will a producer risk a venture based on general elections as a theme? He will not. It will not prove to be economically viable."

Sen also remarks that the tradition of popular cinema has declined. He believes that the pulls and pressures of the market nowadays determine a film's content. And elections are certainly not a topic for the box office.

He has also a simple logic. "While workers of political parties are generally not inclined to watch films, most of which can these days be classified simply as entertainers, film goers will hardly find elections as the theme of a film appetising."

Sen says, "therefore no producer will like to put in money into a film based on election politics where he cannot even reach the break even point."

Youthful director Subrata Sen, whose debut film 'Ek Jey Acche Kanya' won plaudits, says elections being once in a five year event, is not a socially relevant issue for the ordinary film goers.

Tapan Sinha, on the other hand, abhors the idea of shooting a film based on elections. "I'm not interested in vote politics as a director. My subjects are simple elements of nature. The audience too will be apathetic to the theme of elections in films."

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