Eight years after it regaled Bollywood audiences with its song and dance sequences, filmy story line about reincarnation and an ensemble cast, Farah Khan’s “Om Shanti Om” was showcased at the 37th Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) just recently. The filmmaker, however, feels that “commercial or massy” films are largely looked down upon at film festivals in India.
Farah was also feted in Cairo.
“When a foreign film festival honours you, I think, for us in a way, they get your movie. They get the business of your movie. But I think here (in India), the ones who organise the festivals, they tend to look down upon commercial hit films or what they call the masses’ love,” Farah said.
The 50-year-old director’s comment only seems relevant after a veteran Bengali actor Dhritiman Chatterjee, who has acted in films by auteurs as iconic as Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen, objected to Bollywood star Anil Kapoor’s ‘tapori’ dance at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.
Farah, who has made films like “Main Hoon Na” and “Happy New Year”, said it’s only ironic that “actors and commercial film directors” are invited to film extravaganzas to draw footfalls.
“They (people at film festivals) want to go for the niche highbrow intellectual films, but at the same time they want the actors and commercial directors to come for the festivals because that’s what gets the crowd in and the press,” said the outspoken choreographer-director, who’s known for using colour and glamour in her movies.
Her “Om Shanti Om”, which was screened in Cairo where Farah was honoured with the Faten Hamama Award for excellence in cinema, starred Shah Rukh Khan and launched Deepika Padukone. Interestingly, the movie had over 40 actors appearing in the course of the film, including 30 of them in the “Deewangi deewangi” song alone.
She hopes that film festivals on the home turf start showcasing a mix of commercial and non-commercial films.
“I think if they had a mix of both, it would be ideal… especially if they did not ignore the commercial movies… the good commercial movies,” she said.
Perhaps steps are being taken as Salman Khan’s blockbuster entertainer “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” not just set the cash registers ringing but also left people moist-eyed with a heartwarming story.
Meanwhile, films like “The Lunchbox”, “Masaan”, “Angry Indian Goddesses” and “Titli” are some offbeat movies from Hindi filmdom that have found prominence at movie galas.
Farah is now planning to make a movie on “girl power”, which will be produced by her friend superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s banner Red Chillies Entertainment.