Still no visibility for parallel cinema in India: Amol Palekar

By Ruchika Kher

Mumbai, July 30 (IANS) Parallel cinema is still struggling to find a place in India and even multiplexes have not been able to create space for it, says veteran actor-director Amol Palekar.

"Non-mainstream cinema is mostly forgotten when we talk about Indian cinema. Only masala Hindi films are not what Indian cinema consists of," Amol, 65, told IANS in an interview here.

"There is no platform for smaller films. It is crowded and bombarded by mainstream films and their hype and hence there is no visibility for different films," said Amol, who helmed movies like "Thodasa Rumani Ho Jaye", "Daayraa" and "Kairee".

"We need to make people aware of other films as well, so that it is not limited to just a niche audience. People say now with multiplexes, small films are getting their space, but it's not so. Even in multiplexes, small films get two shows and big films get 19 shows, so how will it be visible?" he said.

Amol is ready with yet another small-budget, non-stars film, "And Once Again". It is slated to hit the screens Aug 13.

The English film is the story of a man who loses his wife and child in a violent attack. While trying not to go over the edge, he seeks psychiatric care but just when he feels his life is back to normal, he faces another dilemma.

Asked if English as the language of the film would not restrict its reach, the filmmaker disagreed.

"It is a myth that Hindi gives you a wider reach. Hindi has a wider reach provided you are making a mainstream masala film. But if you are not making a big film then it really doesn't help so much.

"The subject of my film is such that it is meant for a niche audience; so even if I had made it in Hindi, it would not have reached the masses," said Amol.

"And Once Again" is extensively shot in Sikkim and stars Antara Mali, Rajat Kapoor and Rituparna Sengupta.

After "Paheli", starring Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherji, Amol refrained from making a mainstream film. So when does he plan to get back to that genre?

"I go by the subject and not by stars. I make films according to what the subject requires. If I have a subject that requires big budgets and mainstream actors, I will make it.

"The starting point of my filmmaking is not the market issues. I don't make a film because I want to do business. I make films because I have a subject that I want to share. The subject comes with a demand," said Amol, who also faced the camera in many films like "Rajnigandha", "Baaton Baaton Mein" and "Golmaal" among others.

As far as future projects go, Amol says he works on one project at a time.

"It's only after the entire work of this film is completed that I'll start thinking about my other project. I work on one thing at a time," he said.

(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at ruchika.k@ians.in)

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