Audiences now lack patience for leisurely narration: Director Aziz Mirza

Mumbai, July 28 (IANS) "It's the era of fast food," says ace director Aziz Mirza, who has made his latest "Kismet Konnection" shorter and crisper to cater to "today's sensibilities".

"No one is bothered about the delicacies of the eating ritual. Accepting change is important... I've to incorporate today's sensibilities into my own vision. The story remains practically unchanged. But the mode of narration has to change," Mirza, who started his career as a director with TV serial "Circus" in the eighties that shot Shah Rukh Khan to fame, told IANS in an interview.

"One change I've made is to make my new film shorter. It's just two hours and 20 minutes long. My earlier films were longer. Today's audiences don't have patience to sit for leisurely narrations."

With his "Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman" in 1992, Mirza became known for his sweet, working-class romances and he has continued this trend with "Kismet Konnection", though this time set in Canada.

The director says that he is genuinely fond of his lead actor Shahid Kapoor and reveals that he was signed on before "Vivah" and "Jab We Met".

Most of Mirza's films - whether it was "Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman", "Yes Boss" or "Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani" - have starred Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla.

Asked about Shahid and Vidya Balan now being seen as the next Shah Rukh and Juhi, he said he would "leave that to the audience".

Mirza said: "Every actor has his or her own identity. Anyway, to be compared to Shah Rukh and Juhi isn't a bad thing. Shahid and Vidya look really nice together."

Excerpts from the Interview:

Q: Times have changed. How much has your cinema changed?

A: Change is inevitable. Nowadays it's the era of fast food. No one is bothered about the delicacies of the eating ritual. Accepting change is important. I've to make my cinema within the given parameters of change. If you notice Kismat Connection even has a different kind of music. I've to incorporate today's sensibilities into my own vision. The story remains practically unchanged. But the mode of narration has to change.

One change I've made is to make my new film shorter. It's just two hours and 20 minutes long. My earlier films were longer. Today's audiences don't have patience to sit for leisurely narrations. I can't prolong moments in the narration any longer. And maybe the silences are not that pronounced.

"Kismat Connection" is also the first film I've shot in Canada. But it doesn't matter where the story is situated. It could've been located in any vibrant metropolitan city.

Q. Would you call it a compromise?

A. No I'd call it an acceptance of reality. One needs to work around the limitations. My son Haroun has contributed tremendously to "Kismat Konnection" and my previous film "Chalte Chalte". Very soon he'll be directing a film and I'll be helping him out.

I had thought I'd make another subject. But I guess it was destined that I make "Kismat Konnection". This kept coming back to me. I genuinely feel this film had to be made. Before I realized it, the film was complete.

Q. Did you get the full co-operation of your team?

A. It becomes so much easier when you're working in an atmosphere conducive to productivity. When I work on a happy set, the happiness shows in the film. I do believe the positive vibes show up.

I must thank my film's producer Ramesh Taurani for signing Shahid Kapoor at a time when "Vivah" and "Jab We Met" hadn't been released. The film's commercial viability wasn't that high when we started making "Kismat Konnection". But I had decided on Shahid.

To give the film a new look we shot it in Toronto. I haven't travelled much. We chose Toronto because it seemed less expensive than the US or London.

Q. People in the industry look on Shahid Kapoor and Vidya Balan as replacement for Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla in your cinema?

A. We shall leave that to the audience. Every actor has his or her own identity. Anyway, to be compared to Shah Rukh and Juhi isn't a bad thing. Shahid and Vidya look really nice together. I was very comfortable working with them. They've brought in their own dimension to their characters.

I've made a film about kismet. When I was 14-15 I remember my father telling me that at that age it was foolish to believe in destiny. But as you grow older you are a fool if you don't believe in destiny. Whatever I've achieved today is because of many forces that I had no control over.

But in "Kismat Konnection" I've shown my characters believe that they can make their own destiny. That's what being young is all about. I've a fortune-teller in my film. But I've made sure she remains an ambivalent character. You never know whether she's a fraud or not.

Q. Do you watch Hindi films?

A. I do try to catch the important ones. If someone recommends a film I see it. Among the recent ones I liked are Madhur Bhandarkar's "Page 3", Tigmanshu Dhulia's "Haasil" and Anurag Basu's "Life in A Metro". Ashutosh Gowariker's "Jodhaa-Akbar" was a very sincere film. That's why it worked.

I've made a film after five years. After "Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani" I didn't want over-intellectualise my cinema. Whatever I've done from television till today, I've nothing to be ashamed of. It may not be exceptional work, but it's decent work. I'm just happy making logical cinema. I'm not aspiring to greatness.

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