Bollywood's Future Filmwallahs
Shrey Khetarpal [ Sun, Dec 19, 2010 ]
The last decade has been an exciting one for Hindi cinema, defined by new-age directors like Vishal Bhardwaj, Anurag Kashyap, Farhaan Akhtar, Raj Kumar Hirani, Farah Khan and Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra. I say 'new-age' because of their style of film-making and the fact that they established themselves in this decade as directors; not because of their age or presence in the industry.
Their cinema spoke a different language, whether it was out and out commercial or art-house or a bit of both. Then there were the stars, Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra and Sanjay Leela Bhansali along with the veterans, Yash Chopra and Rakesh Roshan who continued to do well.
Of course there were some established names that went down and showmen whose shows no longer worked, but that's the world of cinema where you need to move with the times. These 'new-age' film makers experimented a lot and made cinema more interesting than formulaic; their commercial and critical acceptance has paved the way for directors who will define the next decade.
Here's my pick of ten directors (in no particular order) to watch out for in the coming decade; they have already done some work but I think their best is yet to come... (Please note I haven't taken into consideration first time directors whose work we haven't yet seen, such as Kiran Rao).
His first film, Ab Tak Chappan (2004) came and went but this talented director got noticed for the Shah Rukh Khan starrer, Chak De India (2007). He defied all industry norms by making a sports film, a genre that didn't have a good track record and in that also choosing women's hockey. He did not have a romantic lead opposite the Badshah of romance but had sixteen girls with many making their acting debut. Backed by a solid script by Jaideep Sahni and a production house like Yash Raj Films, Chak De India became a huge success and is counted amongst SRK's finest performances (even his harshest critics liked it).
His next, Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009), also written by Sahni, didn't exactly set the box office on fire but was a film with its heart in the right place. Shimit Amin, we eagerly look forward to your next, hopefully with Jaideep Sahni again.
Movies Released: Ab Tak Chappan
, Chak De India
, Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year
Do you remember the climax of Ek Haseena Thi (2004)? Revenge was served in its best form, cold. I was very impressed with what he did with that film and eagerly awaited his next. He did not disappoint and gave Johnny Gaddar (2007); he gave Neil Nitin Mukesh a character that could be only compared to what Shah Rukh had in Baazigar, the anti hero.
Raghavan's protagonists are not too-good-to-be-true, they are good, bad and ugly all rolled into one. He is one of the few directors who can handle a thriller in Bollywood and his next is also a thriller, Agent Vinod (2011) starring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
Movies Released: Ek Haseena Thi
, Johnny Gaddar
What's next: Agent Vinod
(Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor)
Two-time National award winner, Dibakar Babu put middle class Delhi on the Bollywood map with Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006) and Oye Lucky Lucky Oye (2008).
He picks quirky subjects and makes a point in an entertaining manner. From Delhi's land mafia to the story of Bunty Chor to voyeurism, honour killings and sting operations in Love Sex aur Dhoka (2010), his films maybe small but have big impact.
Movies Released: Khosla Ka Ghosla
, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye
, Love Sex aur Dhoka
His debut film, Aamir (2008) featuring Rajeev Khandelwal was gritty and not convenient. By convenience I mean the ease with which we watch a film. No, it wasn't a bad film that was difficult to sit through but a film that forced you to think, a film that showed the sights that we like to believe do not exist.
Aamir was brave and so is his next film, No One Killed Jessica (2011) starring Rani Mukherjee and Vidya Balan. Once again, it is not a convenient film but an important one.
Movies Released: Aamir
What's next: No One Killed Jessica
(Rani Mukherji, Vidya Balan)
For me Luck By Chance was the most underrated film of 2009. It was well written and showed real human behavior in a setting that is all about unreal, the film industry.
Her next is a multi starrer, Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara featuring Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin. It is already in news for its adventure sport sequences and a controversy around a bull running scene; the film will release in 2011.
Movies Released: Luck By Chance
What's next: Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara
(Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhta, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif, Kalki Koechlin)
Abhishek assisted Vishal Bhardwaj on many projects and also shared credits for screenplay for many including Omkara (2006). Maybe that's the reason his debut film as a director spoke the cinematic language similar to Vishal's (not that we're complaining).
Ishqiya (2010) was raw, sensuous and rustic; it was a love story that was full of adventure, humour and style. Like Vishal, his strength lies in telling stories from the rural Bharat and not westernized India.
Movies Released: Ishqiya
He made Udaan, a film that stands head and shoulders above most of the films released this year. Simple narration, use of silence, music and emotions, his film was poetry on celluloid.
The film also competed in the 'Un Certain Regard' category at the Cannes Film Festival 2010, need I say more?
Movies Released: Udaan
Munni Badnam Hui aur Salman Dabangg hua... Abhinav Kashyap's Dabangg is the biggest hit of 2010. He brought back the single screen attitude and fun to the multiplexes; people whistled and danced in the aisles.
He made no pretensions of making a thought-provoking film; his film had only one motive, to entertain. Bindaas, his sequel to Dabangg is expected to release in 2012.
Movies Released: Dabangg
What's next: Bindaas
His films are funny, romantic, fresh and usually about confused people in love. His lead pair in Socha Na Tha (2005) was wary of arranged marriage; his heroine in Jab We Met (2007) was fascinated with the idea of eloping and in his third film, Love Aaj Kal (2009), the lead pair did not understand the value of what they had till they lost it. His strength lies in creating relatable characters without taking away the escapism that Bollywood is known for.
His next is Ranbir Kapoor starrer Rockstar (2011), which is different from his earlier work but seems as exciting.
Movies Released: Socha Na Tha
, Jab We Met
, Love Aaj Kal
What's next: Rockstar
He made a film that everyone loved... people who were like Sid, people who wanted to be like Sid, people who had or wanted someone like Sid in their lives... Wake Up Sid (2009) was a beautifully made film that established Ranbir Kapoor as a fine actor and Ayan as a director to watch out for.
Movies Released: Wake up Sid