Superstar of content
The first fact we should never forget about showbiz is that it is an industry after all. The business model is entertain and make profits. In the...
The first fact we should never forget about showbiz is that it is an industry after all. The business model is entertain and make profits. In the process if you get a message or hint, which makes the society a better place, then that is an added bonus.
Very rarely you get a filmmaker, who can manage the merger of message with entertainment. V Shantaram was a master message-based storyteller, without ever making his content appear boring.
Yash Chopra was another one, who briefly tried giving us movies with undertones of message, ‘Deewar’ being a classic case where the conflict of “good vs bad” was so effectively portrayed in the tussle of two brothers.
Then came what we fondly call parallel cinema. Its makers walked in with a smug arrogance that their job is not to entertain but to change the society. If cinema could change society, India should have had zero communal riots once Manmohan Desai made ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’.
No wonder parallel cinema was, is and will remain a colossal failure. Mahesh Bhatt when he once said – “In this country, if the club class loves your cinema you travel by a rickshaw but if a rickshaw-wala loves your cinema then you travel club class”.
In the light of all of the above we must thank Aamir Khan Productions for making us realise again that with a little effort and believing in the “S" word, not the one that has three alphabets in it, as one starlet once told us and we, like jokers lapped it up, which means the screenplay content based movies, which entertain and give a message are possible and they will hit the bullseye at the box office all the time.
The first epic was in the first step of this team. A movie called ‘Lagaan’, people call it a movie based on cricket. Look hard. It is not. It is the good old story of the underdog pushed to a corner with no hope but when he moves with sincerity.
People join him, help arrives from unexpected quarters like right from the villain’s own family. By the time Bhuwan embarks on his sports duel with ten unlikely hero, one of whom is a cripple his battle became a battle of all who were watching the movie. ‘Lagaan’ had a message of hope, forgiveness and the good old triumph of fairness over unfairness. It won audience hearts big time.
The other work that Aamir did for today’s kids suffering under ruthless parental ambitions was ‘Taare Zameen Par’, trust me all of us have once cried watching this movie. When the protective teacher tells the ruthless father that how a tree is killed by just plain abuse from the tribals and a father slowly realises what a monster he has been in that one scene, it showed us the brilliance of this movie making unit’s command on screenplays.
‘TZP’ will not change parents, who plant their kid in an IIT training school right after class fifth but it did bring back a lot of confused parents to some clarity. That was a message with entertainment. ‘Taare Zameen Par’ will never get wine party respect. It already is a cult with the society.
‘Peepli Live’ worked at the box office because it was the most brilliant satire on the social divide of our country and how for the highbrow media it is just another TRP feeding issue. ‘Peepli Live’ was one of the biggest BO hits of the year that it released on the scale of ROI.
Aamir Khan Productions once again knew better than all that army of FTII greats put together, that great content can be made even more watchable with a screenplay that drips with satire.
The first sports movie from Aamir Khan Productions was actually ‘Dangal’. A movie that made every other member of the audience stand up to national anthem in the climax without any Supreme Court order. A film, which through its brilliant content showed what a wrestler has to go through when he or she embarks on the journey of winning a medal. It made us respect how for some Haryana girls wrestling was actually way to respect.
Aamir Khan Productions has shown the way on how intellectual cinema can be wedded with box office success with the now running to packed houses ‘Secret Superstar’. It does not get preachy but makes such a telling statement against the “burkha” in its climax when the young girl just throws it off to show her real self to the whole world.
Intellectual cinema need not and in fact cannot be boring. It has a higher responsibility on its shoulders than say a David Dhawan movie, and I love David Dhawan movies to be clear here.
Aamir Khan Productions has shown it to the long ponytailed makers, who feel with their first camera shot that they are god’s gift to Indian cinema and end up making movies which are quarter less watchable than the painful government documentaries – that you can teach the audiences and they will love being taught. Provided you hold them and pull at their heart.
In that sense make no mistake that Aamir Khan Productions is one of the biggest hopes of modern intellectual cinema. I daresay had this studio produced it ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’ probably it would have been a rocking box office hit the first time itself.