Tigmanshu Dhulia is undoubtedly a brilliant director as well as an actor. While he has helmed National Award winning film Paan Singh Tomar and Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster, his acting prowess was captured brilliantly in movies like Manjhi - The Mountain Man and Gangs of Wasseypur. Actor-writer-director Dhulia was recently seen in the role of Shah Rukh Khan's father in Zero. The film received a mixed response from the audience and critics alike. This year, big budget films failed to create magic whereas smaller films became the box office king. Talking about it, Dhulia said that now even big budget films need a good script as just presence of stars won't make any difference.
He also emphasised that after 1960s the respect for a content writer went down significantly and that must change now. "Big budget films have started to face this challenge of just being big budget and loaded with stars. But even big budget films need a good script now. Look at Thugs of Hindostan. The stars delivered what they promised because the first day collections were phenomenal. So people went to see Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan, but from the second day the collections sank," he said.
"So, whether it's a big budget film or not, content is the king. The audience is smart and the type of things that are coming up online has given good exposure to the audience to quality content," Timangshu added.
"I think after 1960's the respect for a content writer went down significantly and that must change now," Dhulia said when asked that how one should take care of both commercial imperatives and creative ambition in today's time of filmmaking?
Having grown up in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, the filmmaker says he tries to incorporate his small-town experience in his cinematic presentation. His films including Haasil, Charas and Shagird, though did an average business at the box- office, but is still alive in the minds of moviegoers in spite of having no big stars in it.
When asked if Indian cinema was moving away from the fascination of Khan era with new faces taking the lead, he said cinema is now addressing a larger audience. "Earlier, multiplexes were present only in big cities, but we see them now in smaller towns as well. Hence cinema is also addressing characters from small towns. Look at Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao - their characters are from small towns. The Khans of the industry typically played glamorous roles and not these roles. Also, these smaller towns are contributing significantly to the revenues hence that is also another reason these characters from small towns are considered," said Dhulia.
Directed by Anand L. Rai, Zero released on Friday and got a mixed reaction at the box-office with some critics calling the narrative weak, while some tagging the film as best coming from King Khan. The film also stars Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, Abhay Deol, Sheeba Chaddha and Bijendra Kala.
So what made Dhulia say yes to the film and how was it working with Shah Rukh?
"Shah Rukh and I worked together during Dil Se for which I had written the dialogues. Our friendship goes way back. In terms of Zero, there were two or three reasons for me to take it up. One -The role was really different and unique and not like what I played in Gangs of Wasseypur. Secondly, Anand L. Rai is a dear friend who was making this technically heavy film with special effects. I was curious to see how he was making the film and learn more on the sets. And thirdly, one is always excited to work with Shah Rukh," he said.
Dhulia, who feeds his creative hunger through newspaper, books, travel and meeting new people, can see the future of entertainment moving towards digital medium.
"Most content would move to the web and the cinema theatres would only see big movies like Baahubali playing," he said.
(With IANS inputs)
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