Fenil and Bollywood

Love in the time of terrorism

Posted on: November 26, 2009

Filmmakers known for fairytale romances are now making movies with terrorism as the backdrop, finds Harshada Rege

It could be a reaction post the 26/11 terror attacks or just the fact that terrorism is a global phenomena, but filmmakers have never before been so keen to highlight this evil on the big screen. And the emphasis on this is laid by the fact that two production houses known for their romantic films, have taken a huge leap and have made movies on this topic. We are talking about Yash Chopra’s production house that’s known for movies like Chandni, Lamhe and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge; and Karan Johar who has made feel-good movies like
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham to the more recent Dostana and Wake Up Sid. Yash Chopra’s banner has already brought out its offering on terrorism in the form of New York that was directed by Kabir Khan and starred John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh. Karan on the other hand produced the recently released and highly-acclaimed Kurbaan that stars Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Vivek Oberoi. While the movie is what Karan calls a “love story” it was a subject that Karan couldn’t stop thinking about. He asked Rensil D’Silva to write and develop it for him. He later asked Rensil to direct the project. “The story addresses this evil that has become a global phenomena,” he says.
But it was director Kunal Kohli, who surprised everyone with Fanaa in 2005. Easily one of the most successful films that had terrorism as the backdrop, Fanaa handled the issue very well. “Movies that are relevant to that particular time always click with the audience. Like Naya Daur or Namak Haraam that the audience remembers for those particular eras,” points Kunal, who has also directed Hum Tum, Mujhse Dosti Karoge! and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic. Speaking about Fanaa he says that the movie worked because it was a Hindi ‘picture’. “It had the right elements put together. It’s is very important to make your film entertaining. If you feel socially responsible and want to give a message you have to make it entertaining and not sound preachy,” he says. He feels that people liked the movie because the common man was the protagonist. “People found Rehan (Aamir Khan’s character) like any other man. He was a guide and a very mard character. He wasn’t just a boy, but a man,” says Kunal.
A trade pundit says, “As long as the director doesn’t get confused between making a love story or a film on terrorism it’s fine. In the end the audience has to feel for the characters.” Managing the commercial aspect and sending out a social message can be difficult. “Yes, it is very difficult. But that’s what the audience expects from you,” says Kunal.

BOMBAY TIMES (November 26, 2009)

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