Rajeev Masand Interview with Rajamouli & Johar

[Thanks to agyaat for pointing me to this interview.  I think it’s especially interesting because it pre-dates the film’s release — Qalandar]

 

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18 Responses to “Rajeev Masand Interview with Rajamouli & Johar”

  1. Good exchange here but most importantly because it’s symptomatic of something. This film has really ‘shocked’ Bollywood, completely shattered its complacency. For years even though there was lots of evidence of the opposite from the Tamil industry in particular Bollywood more or less ignored it. Even today it shouldn’t just take this sort of spectacle to wake up to this reality. The Tamil new wave should suffice in a different sense. But Bahubali in any case has made Bollywood realize that in their spectacles they’re not even inhabiting the same universe. equally the film reveals the potency of masala when handled correctly. This is not just about this genre offering ‘greater’ entertainment, it’s about the (and to use a contemporary term) immersive experience promised by the same. And as I might have said before it’s often not a genre but a kind of super-genre incorporating everything else. It doesn’t work if you have the same kind of spectacle but set a love story in that world or a non-masala love story. You need an epic framework even in the narrative sense that can complement those visuals. A spectacle of this sort requires gods not humans. Or an economy of ‘transcendence’ that must also inform the characters and the plot, not just the visuals. There are films that don’t respect this compact, even in Hollywood and they’re mediocre films (though they might still be box office successes for other reasons). But this once again gets to that larger point of how a film’s choices in every sense have to be part of the same universe.

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    • It’s kinda freakish Johar seems so confident about the film’s success prior to release — never seen him (or perhaps anyone) this sure…

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      • because he knows his audience. Anything that blows him away is quite likely to do the same to his multiplex base.

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        • Yes — true. At some point over the years he and Aditya switched places (more accurately I should say Johar became more Aditya than the latter could ever be)!!!!

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          • that’s a good point. But Aditya Chopra has been a somewhat enigmatic figure. He made the switch when he didn’t really need to but on the other hand he’s not quite been as willing to bankroll the big masala project. He’ll do something extremely obvious like a Fanaa with Aamir or something with Salman but as the exception. He could be producing a lot more big films along these lines.

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          • A few years ago Aditya Chopra was producing a bunch of little films that I would definitely call, within commercial constraints, sincere (Rocket Singh, Laaga Chunari Mein Daagh, for instance), but of late even those seem to have dried up…YRF seems to be drifting…

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          • yes true again.. somehow you don’t quite see the ‘plan’ with Yashraj.

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          • AamirsFan Says:

            that ‘plan’ is to hop on the ‘Khans’ bandwagon once again. lol.

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          • Ha, that’s right!

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          • Q – adi is the producer of SRK’s Fan and he is the producer of Paani……with a recent announcement of a love-story starring HR/DP – YRF should be back on track in their forte……….

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          • On Paani, I’m ordinarily suspicious of these “made for international audiences” sort of films, but hopefully there’s a good ARR soundtrack here…

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          • Mardaani, Dum Lagaake Aisha, Byomkesh Bakshi are quite honest attempts from YRF in last year…

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          • Haven’t seen the last of those but Mardaani was very good indeed, and almost uniformly well-acted even apart form Rani Mukherjee’s “seeti-worthy” performance. I guess Shuddh Desi Romance was also a YRF film a couple of years ago…

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      • the problem with Johar is that he’s still the guy more impressed with a certain kind of film or star or director or whatever, still a ‘fanboy’ in that sense. And what impresses him more than anything else is anyone and anything generating crores at the box office! Salman was completely antithetical to his value system in the 90s when Salman wasn’t even who he’s become since Wanted or Dabanng. Now he can’t stop praising him. Because hey if you can generate hundreds of crores this way you have to be taken seriously! But notice also how both Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar have more or less become extinct as directors. The former always had that problem. He’s quite happy simply being producer and not doing anything as a director. even RNBDJ, a rather indifferent and frankly embarrassing attempt coming from him, is now 7 years old. Johar meanwhile decided he wanted to get some of the Lagaan-like acclaim for himself and SRK. That didn’t work out. Now he’s back to a triangle of some sort again doing something relatively ‘obvious’. Is it really that hard to predict an initial here or even a success if the film is half-decent? Johar has of course lost his place in this newer Bollywood. His sensibilities don’t match those of the masala film. On the other hand he’s also not sharp enough for a pure multiplex audience anymore. So he has to split the difference somehow. In the meantime he’s invented himself as a celebrity, a kind of cultural icon and to give the devil its due he has talents for this sort of ‘part’. Again he doesn’t have to direct films except occasionally. But the reason I reintroduce all of this is that Johar is certainly right to make the sorts of films he’s comfortable with. On the other hand he’s completely wrong in thinking it’s only about obvious gestures (films, stars, genres.. whatever is working in a very conspicuous way). It’s not. At any end of the production scale there is a difference between a successful film and a true film that also might be a success. Even in a very cynical age audiences can tell the difference. Which is why certain films are the sum of their box office numbers and certain others transcend the same. Till Johar is willing to take that risk he will never be more than what he is currently.

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        • AamirsFan Says:

          pretty accurate take on him. to me he comes off as very pretentious; sort of like the ‘frasier’ character but does have a good heart. he is definitely better as a producer than as a director/story teller.

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  2. Shah Rukh puts in his own words here on Bahubali. Trying to reach out…..possibly ?

    “Shah Rukh Khan @iamsrk Aug 1
    Baahubali what a hard worked at film. 2 every1 involved thanx for the inspiration. U can only reach the sky if u r willing to take the leap!”

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  3. A good analysis on kjos inner dynamics by Satyam above

    Kjo and aditya have lost their edge as directors a while back

    But to give them credit, they excel as Bollywood producers
    Know the workings and dynamics of commercial Bollywood v well.

    Infact kjo and aditya are very under rated here (& unfairly so)…

    Sometimes u don’t have to do more than u need to

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