Priyadarshan turns serious
Prolific filmmaker Priyadarshan of Hera Pheri fame wants to make a serious film, now that Hungama's been released.india Updated: Aug 04, 2003 19:34 IST
The prolific Priyadarshan, who has made over 50 films in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, is in danger of getting typecast as a comic director in Bollywood.
At the moment though he is busy with a serious subject - a Tamil film on female infanticide. "This is a very serious problem in Tamil Nadu. The chief minister has provided nurseries in villages, pleading a stop to the death of female children. But it still goes on," says Priyadarshan in an interview.
"It's song-less formula-free film with theatre actors. I want to make it as real as possible. This is my first really authentic film. I want to start and finish it in November. "All this time I have made films for the audience. Now for the first time I'm doing a film for myself."
Priyadarshan'slatest venture Hungama - starring Akshaye Khanna and Paresh Rawal with newcomer Rimi Sen opened to critical appreciation, Friday last and despite its over the top sequences, has the audience in splits. His earlier comedy, Hera Pheri - starring Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Tabuand Rawal again in pivotal roleswas also a surprise success.
"Hungama leaves all problems behind and just lets the audience have a good laugh. I feel it's easier to scare or thrill people than to make them laugh. While shooting a comedy I've to find the situations funny, or I've had it. I put a precondition for myself while making Hungama – not to complicate the plot or confuse the audience."
"I think casting in a comedy is all important. For the role that Aftab Shivdasani played I wanted someone innocent looking. As for Akshaye Khanna, I knew what he was capable of from the time I directed him in Doli Saja Ke Rakhna. When I narrated the subject to him I told him I'd make Hungama only if he played the role I offered him. Once he agreed, everything fell into place."
Priydarshan sees a paucity of worthy comediesand "Hungama", he feels
"doesn't need much thought. Maybe that's what appeals to our audiences. Hindi cinema hasn't had really good comedies in a long time. I remember Padosan and Golmaal and other comedies in Hindi and some of my own filmsin South have been inspired by Hindi comedies."
But now the filmmaker feels the need to prove himself with a non-comic film in Hindi. "I was supposed to make a non-comic film for the producer of Hungama with Shah Rukh Khan in the lead. But that was delayed because of Shah Rukh's illness. I still have that script ready and waiting. Ideally, I like to make my films within 30-40 days, because if it takes longer than that, everyone involved loses interest. No wonder I find myself a stranger in Mumbai, where the entire process of filming is far too laboured and time-consuming."
"It's really sad, but I've never made a Hindi film with an actor who's doing well at the box-office. Now I want to make a thriller in Hindi. I'm committed to making films for a number of producers in Mumbai, including Subhash Ghai and Boney Kapoor. I'm happy with the response to Hungama. Otherwise I'd have been too disappointed to go back to Hindi films for a while."
The director of such memorable films as Viraasat and Hera Pheri is indignant about not being allowed to remake his Tamil and Malayalam films in Hindi. "I understand my scripts better than any other director in Bollywood. I'm generally disappointed by the way my films are made in Hindi. My Chandralekha was remade as Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega, which was very disappointing.
"My films are like my children. I nurture and groom them. Why should I hand them over to another person? It's better that I remake my own films. If I make a film only in Malayalam, a very small section of Indians see it. Why can't I make my films on a national level? Why not indeed?