By Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 24 -- Unlike Alice, I've always enjoyed my romps through wonderland. I really liked Meena Kumari, her Dil Ek Mandir (1963) with Rajendra Kumar is one of my favourite films. There were so many others too, their names I've forgotten but their memories still charm.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the darkened theatres. I idolised Dilip Kumar, I've seen all his movies, 30-40 times each. Once, when I was shooting for Farz ('67) at Vijay Studio, he was on an adjacent floor, filming Ram Aur Shyam ('67). We met, he spoke and I stared at him, speechless!
Somewhere along the way, I got caught up in the business of making movies and stopped watching them. But about three-four years ago, I caught up with the pastime again. Now, every Friday, with some friends like Rakesh Roshan and Saawan Kumar Tak, I stroll into the PVR theatre in Juhu. We sip a cup of coffee, then, go for the latest movie. It's so much fun watching it with young people and listening to their comments.
There was a time when I was called the wizard of the box-office. I had numbers at my fingertips, perhaps because those numbers were working for me. Today, honestly I am clueless about the kind of cinema people want to see. If I think a film will be a superhit, it turns into a debacle and vice versa. The exceptions have been Krrish (2006) and Wanted (2009).
Salman Khan's Wanted was a remake of a Telugu hit, Pokhiri, a typical melodrama with plenty of 'maar-dhaad'(action). I've done my share of action films too, including Jyoti Bane Jwala (1980) and Meri Awaaz Suno (1981).
Back in the 1980s, the Hindi remake of a Telugu hit usually was a blockbuster too. One reason could be that we were both catering to an audience with a similar taste in cinema. That's changed now. Today, we have different audiences for the multiplexes and single screen theatres, for the rural interiors and the urban metros, for India and the overseas. Rarely do we come across a film like 3 Idiots (2009) that cuts across the country and continents. Music has also changed. In our time, every word had to be pronounced clearly so people got it. Now words are drowned by beats as rhythm scores over lyrics. Love songs have disappeared along with socials. Baghbaan (2003) and Waqt (2005) were the last two family dramas that made an impression. I like the promos of Khatta Meetha (2010) too. With Priyadarshan guiding him through South remakes, Akshay Kumar has developed a commendable comic touch and evolved as an actor.
In the present scenario I feel outdated. Balaji and Alt Entertainment has a film coming up next Friday. Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (2010) is set in the '70s. That was my era, an era of jam sessions, raw passion, the evolving underworld and flared bellbottoms. The look is right, but I can't claim any credit for it. It is my daughter Ekta's (Kapoor) baby. I hope I like the film, and hope others do too!