Ad filmmakers bring fresh ideas to Bollywood!

By Ruchika Kher

New Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) Bollywood is bristling with fresh themes these days, thanks to a new breed of directors who are bringing with them innovative ideas from the ad world.

Ad filmmakers entering and creating an impact on cinema is not a new phenomenon. The legendary Satyajit Ray joined an advertising agency in 1943 and worked there for 13 years. Directors Basu Chatterjee and Shyam Benegal followed in his footsteps. The trend has now accelerated.

Thanks to the expanding overseas market and the influx of multiplexes, it has become easier for admen-turned-directors to experiment with unusual themes in song-and-dance-dominated Bollywood.

Among the new breed of directors, advertising professionals like R. Balakrishnan, Dibakar Banerjee and Soojit Sircar have ventured into Bollywood and brought a breath of fresh air with them in films like "Cheeni Kum", "Khosla Ka Ghosla" and "Yahaan".

Banerjee, who made "Khosla Ka Ghosla" with Anupam Kher, says he intentionally joined the advertising world as a stepping stone to filmmaking.

"Generating ads give you a heads up since the physical aspect of ad filmmaking to some extent trains you in movie-making," Banerjee told IANS.

Pradeep Sarkar, who debuted in Bollywood with the highly acclaimed "Parineeta", felt the basics of ads and films were similar.

"In my view, feature films and ad films are almost the same. In an ad film, each second matters - we are conscious that we have to hold the interest of the audience for each moment. I have always used the same approach for my films," Sarkar told IANS.

According to Sarkar, the dynamics of business have changed in Hindi filmdom and new age producers are willing take risks and invest in experimental movies.

"There is more openness now. If you have an interesting subject, people are willing to give you a chance. We have a more organised world now," the director said.

Banerjee added: "If you have an interesting subject and original idea and have managed to rope in big stars, then arranging money becomes relatively simpler. Organised crew and a reasonable budget too help in getting finance."

While these new filmmakers are injecting fresh ideas into the world of cinema, they maintain that coming from the advertising industry is not the sole reason for their out-of-the-box thinking.

"It's not about being an advertising professional. People are constantly looking for a different idea and this stimulates an individual to make unconventional films," asserted Balakrishnan, who is currently working on his next film "Pa", starring Amitabh, Abhishek Bachchan and Vidya Balan.

Banerjee agreed and said: "I joined advertising because I knew I could think out-of-the-box, not because I wanted to learn how to do that. I wanted to make films my way, with a novel approach. My struggle is to translate my vision on the screen. As a result of this, a film like 'Khosla Ka Ghosla' was made."

His next film "Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye" starring Paresh Rawal and Abhay Deol is supposed to be yet another ode to originality and creativity.

With big banners and popular actors joining hands with the new bunch of filmmakers, the audiences and the film industry are getting a healthy dose of meaningful cinema.

Award-winning ad filmmaker Ram Madhvani continues the trend with Amitabh Bachchan starrer "Talisman" and Abhinay Deo with "Delhi Belly".

Apart from wielding the megaphone, ad filmmakers are making waves in other departments of filmmaking as well.

While ad man Prasoon Joshi is penning beautiful lyrics, Jaideep Sarin wowed audiences with the script of "Chak De! India" and Sridhar Raghavan was the screenplay writer of Abhiskek Bachchan-starrer "Bluffmaster".

The advertising industry has also produced actors like John Abraham, who worked as a media planner with an ad agency, Kabir Bedi and renowned Bollywood photographer Subi Samuel.

But advertising background or not, Sarkar, who will direct another movie for Yash Raj Films, said: "To make good films, two things are most important - passion and hunger."

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