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In conversation with one of the finest writer- director Anees Bazmee who has given Hindi cinema a number of outstanding entertaining drama films, talks to us about evolvement in the industry, gives us a glimpse of his forthcoming film ‘Pagalpanti’ yet another comic caper and comedy as a genre. Excerpts:

From a romantic film like ‘Pyaar toth Hona Hi Tha’ to thriller film like ‘Deewaangee’, and then a comedy film like ‘No entry’ and so on. Has this transition been a conscious decision or it was just falling in place eventually?

It wasn’t a conscious decision, in between I had made different kind of films which wasn’t released and  one of them was ‘Naam’, it was an action orientated crime thriller,  the other film I had made was  ‘It’s My Life’ and that was  a love story which again wasn’t released. So people thought I could only make comedy and also that my comedy films were working.  But I am happy and I never wanted to do something purposely or to prove someone. It’s just the excitement I get to make a film at that particular time and be it of any genre and coincidentally it’s been comedy films like – ‘No Entry, Singh is King, ‘Ready’ and so on. So it wasn’t a conscious decision and I am very much comfortable in any genre and any genre film works only if you have made it nicely.

In the year 90’s and 2000 we use to have a David Dhawan film or Priyadarshan entertainer  but off lately that trend has been diminishing, we see your films coming and others are not so keen about it, so why do you think this genre is slowing down in Bollywood?

I think it’s not only in comedy, it’s with every genre. And that is because as the time passes everything eventually changes.  And I believe we have to go according to the time but comedy is something that is very difficult itself and I believe if you make a comedy film really good then it will definitely work.  When I had written the film ‘Aakheen’, that time people use to tell me that comedy has a saturation point but after this film got released it broke all the records.  I believe people want to laugh in today’s time so if I can make people laugh with my films then why not. And I feel what I do is a good deed and also the film works. Today when I meet people they still tell me that – whenever they are depressed they watch ‘No Entry’. It’s been 12 years for ‘Welcome’ and I met a few people recently, and they talk about the film, about the characters in the film, it makes them happy. So I guess I’ve done such kind of films that when people watch the film how many ever times; they are happy.  As a filmmaker it gives you such a satisfaction when your film has a recall value.

What is your sensibility when it comes to directing a film, what do you seek in a script?

I am actually a very emotional man, when I use to write film like ‘ Swarg’ I use to cry a lot while writing.  Even today whenever I am watching an emotional film at home, I still have tears in my eyes. So as an artist I was never sure while writing that when I am crying will the audience equally cry? On the other hand, I don’t laugh much but while writing if I smile a little bit then I am sure that people are going to laugh on it. So I would say it’s inherent in me. Where people really try hard to get it, I get it easily.  That is also how my individuality comes into the script.

How difficult does it get to keep the comedy element alive and also portray it in different manner in every film?

It’s very difficult because the film looks easy to people but to make it, it’s too tough. I believe I have done all kind of genres but till date the toughest genre which I feel is, is comedy, because it’s difficult to make other laugh and you always have to be alert and constant as a writer or director you are at the edge.

According to you what can be the one reason why the small budget film are garnering appreciation more than any big budget film, despite where the technicality and visual appeal plays the key role.

I believe it is a beautiful phase in the film industry that the small, content-driven films have worked, and its a very happy space for the producers, directors and also actors. And people are liking the kind of films that are coming and I guess there will be more such films coming up but might not just work because they will have an impression that, if this film worked then their film will also work. There was a film ‘Jai Santoshi Maa’. After that many such films were made on this subject but it didn’t work. I feel this is a very good time where different kind of films are working and content driven films are working but I believe people should only make what they belive in and not because a particular genre or trend is working.  And I dont believe in trend and no one can assure that this particular trend will work for long because its evloving and things will change.  And at times big films doesnt work because its not written anywhere that big films always work and if a film is good then I feel a hard core commerical film which the audiance go to watch has a different kind of fun.

So while the audience is evolving, what is it that poses a challenge today while making movies?

Yes its a challenege because you have so many options and also to watch a film in a theatre is a task because you need to take your family, travel, buy the tickets, spend money for all of it then obiviously they will expect a good film in return thus people are very concious, they will first see the review and then go for it because they dont want to spend the money on any film.  So as a filmmaker, writer, your responsibility increases to make a good film because now people have a lot of options to sit at home and watch Netflix and all, so why would anyone take the trouble to go to the theatre , untill unless its a good film and has gained good reviews hence we cant make a mediocre film now we have to think out of the box .

How content are you – while you’ve worked with actors like Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor ; now there’s this new generation.

I think Anil, Ajay, Salman, Akshay, they are extremely superb, if they have ruled back then and even now so its not a fuke because they are best in their job but the new generation actors are nothing less. I have enjoyed working with all the actors and first time I am working with Arshad Warsi so we are really excited and I’m sure we going to have a lot of fun.

Pagalpanti is your next venture?  Can you tell us about it?

‘Pagalpanti’, the title itself says its full of madness. It has an essemble star cast, really good songs, its a very good script, gags, laughter and I can assure you after watching the film people will say that – they really had fun. So its a hardcore commercial film. Trade Magazine



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