Blockbuster and Mythbuster

Nagraj Manjule

From Regional Desk:
-Blockbuster and Mythbuster

Blockbuster SAIRAT
Also a Mental-Blocks' Buster   

Well there, this becomes our second article on this website around Sairat, and that too again by me. And I have no reason to shy since a good piece of art is capable of inspiring several stories and as long as we are sure we have a fresh topic to trigger a discussion/discourse we will not miss the opportunity.

The climax of Sairat has not only doomed silence in the theatre halls, but it has also silenced Trade Pundits and the so called thumb rulers, fortunately in the larger interest of Equal Opportunity Film Making.

Let’s discuss those Industry beliefs the Sairat Tsunami has thwarted.

  1. Stars are necessary and sufficient for success of a Film.

    A detail discussion of this may not be necessary because all of us have by now got our own explanation for this.
    But as a formality, let me carry on for a few lines.
    Marathi films have always been content centric. Audience do appreciate good actors and have also made such good actors who gave consistent performances, their stars. But in spite of this, ‘Stars’ was never the sole reason for them to watch films. On this website we had an article ‘Panch ka Dum’ where we discussed how multi starrer Marathi films tanked at the Box Office. Blindly aping South Style Movies, or Bollywood proved fatal for those films.
    But still the ‘The Star Theory’ continued to rule the roost. Set beliefs are difficult to break just like – Guilty till proved Innocent. So the Pundits would tell, “Stars are failing, but at least they are seeing the light of the day. Are non-starrers even becoming a Project?”
    Thankfully with Sairat we have got the Proof. It’s always difficult for the lamb to prove that he is not wrong though he is downstream.. but then every lamb has his day.

  2. This is 20-20 generation, who don’t like to watch longer films..
    This was another belief. The moment an actor, producer or director would see a more than 80 page script he would jump out of his seat.
    “Are you nuts? Who’s watching a 3 hr film today?”
    Or “Ok, you have a 3 hr Script, you get a Khan to act, then I will make it.”
    So forth..
    Another reason which is not told explicitly is Economics. Theatres can run more shows of a 2 hr film in a day then a longer film. So the vested interests demand a film be cut mercilessly so that more shows can be crammed.
    What is the result? Probably 'Shashan' - A film starring Makrand Anaspure, Bharat Jadhav, Siddarth Jadhav et.al. didn’t sustain at the Box Office, because the audience couldn’t make WTF was happening due to jump edits.
    I don’t mean Films should drag even if they don’t hold. But they should not be cut unnecessarily that the purpose itself is killed like 'Shashan'. The storytelling should be correct and complete. Penny wise Pound foolish. We cut the film to accommodate more shows and the film bombs because it is not cohenrent or makes no sense.

  3. "We want never seen before subject."
    "Do you have something HATKE?"
    "Write only if you have Out of the Box Ideas.."
    Such words are the first thing of any communication Writers receive from Producers or their staff. This “Out of Box Idea” phrase has itself become the worst “Cliché” of our times. Georges Polti, a 19th century author has listed 36 dramatic situations, and claims all stories will eventually fall in one of his 36 situations.
    Stories come from life, there are exceptions but to connect majorly with the rest of the world the emotions need to be the common ground. At the core, most of us have same issues if we belong to same class, profession etc. Almost all critics across India cited examples of films which had plots or characters similar to Sairat.

    Was it the first time that we saw;
    i) A rich boy/girl in love with a poor girl/boy?
    ii) Caste difference as the bone of contention? (Achhut Kanya 1936 was first film with this subject).
    iii) Girl taking lead in building the relationship
    iv) Lovers eloping to unknown place and setting up their own World, but soon the bitterness seeps in..
    v) The social evils eventually thrash the tender hearts.

    I am not sure if any budding writer will even get an audience with a producer if he has a similar story.
    The typical first question – What is your story in one line? Now try to tell the Sairat story in one line and imagine the chances of second audience.

    But still Sairat is sweeping the market off its feet. Not only Marathi but non-Marathi audience are equally or rather more responsible for the film’s overwhelming success. What is working is the Universality of the emotions. Love, Suspicion, Jealously, Ego, Hatred, we experience everything alongwith the characters..

    So once we connect with the protagonists, their emotions are our emotions. We are happy to relive the same life we might have experienced while watching all such films before. Let’s hope that Sairat kills this ‘Out of the Box’ craze and good subjects find favour with filmmakers, because something ‘never seen before’ we may not ever see. Unless someone comes from different planet or different experiences of life to share, proving Georges Polti wrong.

    Ya, one more thing on subject. Many Producers also insist on adapting famous books or plays. They feel that is a safe bait. Well again, Sairat isn't an adaption, or remake or such thing. So this may give Producers a chance to look beyond remakes and consider fresh stories.

  4. Rural Subjects are not working any more.. and

  5. People are fed up of Comedy.
    Naturally, what clings the audience to the Sairat story is the rural life and the freshness with which it is presented. The village is also from prosperous part of the State. We see greenery around, rich farmers, guns, vehicles etc.
    The first half is mostly a romcom which has the audience in splits several times with enough humour and comedy.
    So both these myths (4 & 5) that have been doing rounds recently, have also been falsified by Sairat.

  6. Now here I am touching a sensitive topic. Ranjhana (Hindi film of 2013 starring Dhanush & Sonam) was bashed by critics because it had a hero who was stalking the girl. With recent incidences of crimes against women, writers were desisting from sketching such characters. But unfortunately most Love affairs begin like that. Boys have to initiate the process. It invariably starts with him becoming conspicuous by his presence in her way to work/study. Not all of them have malicious intentions. But due to those less than 5% notorious elements, we have branded this obtrusive hero as an offensive/outrageous one. That’s a bad idea. That’s fault of the system. When small part of a community is notorious, the entire clan pays the price. So the Masti of our movies, right from the earliest films, where a fun loving, innocuous boy would chase a girl to prove his love – has almost vanished from our films. BTW the society has evolved and today – there is no need to do this as you can easily talk to girls and express.. but just a decade back, this was a problem and probably in small towns it is still prevalent. Accessing a girl is hell of task. So coming back to missing that nouk-jhouk, Sairat has a boy who has been watching her persistently. He even lies when she asks him if he wasn’t. He says, he’s watching the game.
    But thank Nagraj, no critic has bashed the innocent looking Parshya for stalking Archi.

    Well, it is also a norm these days, that when a thing clicks people follow the trend and when something doesn’t then it gets bashed up to pulp..
    I am glad that Sairat has liberated that stereotype but quintessential character of a Road Romeo, which almost all our Superstars have played Devanand, Dharmendra, Shammi Kapoor, Kaka, Amitabh, Jeetendra, Anil Kapoor, Amir Khan, SRK, Salman and now our little Akash Thosar.    

    The other minor myths Sairat invalidates are need for glamour quotient, item number, and of course LANGUAGE. People tend to tone down the regional lingo due to fears of people not understanding hardcore dialect. But this myth has already been busted several times in recent past by other films as well. 

    Well, of course, one has to admit that a big Studio was backing Sairat. Lot of credit goes to it. Music is also instrumental in making the killing. We can’t just ignore those factors. Would the History be same had there been no Zee? Probably not.

    Your comments are welcome at editor.fwa.co.in@gmail.com

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-Sanjay Sharma

Critic who loves to appreciate.

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