Yash Chopra: Gimmicks don’t help films

22 Oct,2012

He was more than a master film-maker… he was an industry leader whose views on the business of cinema held as much weight as those on cinematic craft. Excerpts from an interview canned some time back with MxMIndia columnist DEEPA GAHLOT which we carry in our Jaldi 5 interview section.


01. On why dubbing is a harmful trend:

Avatar was a great film and is a great threat to Indian films. Dubbing of Hollywood films into Indian languages is eating into the domestic film business in a big way. For such big special effects films, with 300-400 million dollar budgets, dubbing is peanuts. We should see how to fight this threat. We have to safeguard our industry. Maybe dubbing of Hollywood films should not be allowed.


02.  On Co-productions:

 A lot of co-productions happened in the last two years, but I don’t think it has been a very happy experience for the overseas people; it may have been happy for the Indian producers. When a film does not do well, it hurts the person who spends money and takes it. Co-production with big studios can be done as far as money is concerned… otherwise, we are poles apart culturally.


After so many years and much advancement there are certain things our audiences will never accept. True, there are taboo subjects that people are making in India and some audiences are accepting them too-those ‘Hindish’ (Hindi-English) films without songs, which young people are accepting. Films like LSD and Dev D have also done well, but by and large, I don’t think we can make films, that can please both audiences-here and abroad.


03. On promoting films:

I don’t think just promotion can make a film successful. In India, now everyone is promoting films in a big way, with all kinds of gimmicks, but all that doesn’t translate into success, if the film is bad. It’s unthinkable, the money that it spent on promotion, and after all that if the film does not do well, it pinches.  All these years not more than seven or eight percent films were successful; and I am talking success-failure in terms of money only. Those days of jubilees are gone. Today, lakhs is nothing, everything is in crores and how much comes back? Business is not more than two weeks, and of this 70 percent is in the first week. If you miss the first week for some reason, you miss the business completely.


04. On Bollywood and the world:

Bollywood has become a big name, the whole world wants it n one way or the other. Indian entertainment, cinema, theatre, costumes, food-everything. It’s a big craze and it has never happened before. We were in Paris at the Ritz Hotel, and Tom Cruise was also there. When he went out of the hotel, there were a few fans, but when Shah Rukh Khan came out, it became difficult to handle the crowds. The security people requested us to travel in a bus and not separate cars, because they could not handle it. It’s happening at every level. Our stars are very big…in Egypt, Amitabh Bachchan is god! India is going global.


05. On the downside of going global:

We are losing a lot of things in our culture. In our music, the soul is gone… the Indian melody is gone. They say that the market is dictated by the youth and get away with anything. China and Japan have not lost their identity.


The advantage of going global is that people are rejecting formula films. They are patronizing new kinds of cinema. The disadvantage is loss of identity. You hardly see Indian costumes in out films anymore, or hear Indian melody. You hardly get to hear powerful dialogues in our films. In the old days there used to be special dialogue writers with a knowledge of the language, who wrote those dialogues that people still remember. Maybe now people want simple, colloquial dialogue, but you don’ft hear audiences clapping any more, or crying in emotional scenes. Dialogue ka zamana chalagaya.


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