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Bollywood: Where are the storytellers?



New Delhi, Aug. 9 -- Of all the Bollywood films that have released this year, and the ones yet to release over the next five months, many are either remakes of regional films or Hollywood hits, if not sequels to previous blockbusters or book adaptations. Does this mean the gradual death of originality or lack of good storytellers in the film industry? Here's what leading scriptwriters say.


There were remakes in the past, too ... remakes of Hollywood films or may be regional films, more. Now, there are remakes from our own language, which doesn't make any sense. I can understand if it's a classic, like Devdas, otherwise I don't think a remake is really worth it. There is probably a little bit of lethargy to write more stories pertaining to our times. Book reading is nearing an end so filmwatching has kind of become a source of literature. The narrative has deviated from storytelling to stronger visuals. The storyline is just a pretext these days. Earlier, the visuals were a little weak. Look at Sanjay Leela Bhansali, his visuals are so strong, or see Vishal (Bhardwaj)... The way he has shown Kashmir and its people in Haider, it's beautiful.


Some make 'cinema', others undertake a 'project'. Filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap, Madhur Bhandarkar or Vishal Bhardwaj make cinema and hence look for original stories. Those who make projects aim for a 100crore film. They don't want to take a risk, and hence they opt to remake a film that has already been a hit. It's like a formula to shortcut success. People want to sit in their rooms and create movies. Unless you go out and explore the world, how will you have a new story to tell?


Most of the times, doing a remake or sequel is purely a business decision where calculation takes precedence over imagination. It's not just happening in India, Hollywood, too, has seen a lot of these. There is nothing wrong in remakes and sequels but at the same time, these tried and tested formulae should not lead the (film) industry. Playing too safe is not good for art.