Recently I had a meeting with a gentleman from the Mumbai advertising world. The conversation veered to contemporary Indian cinema. He had seen Peepli Live on television the previous day and so had I. He spoke of his experience in rural India and how true to life Anusha Rizvi had made her film. “There are more than a handful films like this made every year in India- but how many does one actually get to see? If it weren’t for Aamir Khan as a producer, would such a film reach us?” A completely valid thought.
But it was his next comment that stayed with me. “What does one do if one doesn’t have an Aamir Khan?”
Join the leagues of filmmakers who have given up on their film midway? or those who have finished it and sealed it in cans? or those who blunder through the chain of events that may break one? Or try and be your own Aamir Khan?
A friend of mine who’s first feature film became an unexpected super hit in Bollywood said that a producer|director relationship is like a marriage – you stick through it for the sake of the film. You cant run away from each other. In private if you ask him about his producers’ role in making the film – he’d tell you that he “made the film DESPITE them!”
At the other end of the spectrum, there is a producer like the legendary K.Ravindranathan Nair of General Pictures who is famous for never using a single penny from the earnings of his films. Instead he used the money to build facilities for the general public ! Filmmaking artists like G. Aravindan could create their art due to his support & patronage. But that is one rare example.
This Producer|Director love-hate relationship that is at the root of more films than we know about – be it David Lean or Akira Kurosawa! Perhaps it has to do with the commercial-creative nature of the medium. The push & pull which leaves both parties hankering for more and getting less.
Many cases end up on the sour/bitter side with people revealing the worst in themselves! In my dictionary, the dream producer would really believe, fully back a project and do their job for the film’s best and deliver the film to its audience. Sounds fairly simple? But those are the truly rare ones. Such people do exist and the world is a better place because of them. 🙂
As for Aamir Khan, I understand the producer in him is carving yet another new path – giving Kiran Rao’s serious arthouse film DHOBI GHAT , a full-on commercial release (domestic, international, dubbed – the works!). A risk it is – one that needs guts to take. Me like! 🙂
Abou Ben Adam, May his tribe INCREASE!