Why do we underestimate our audiences, asks Priyanka Chopra

By Joginder Tuteja

Mumbai, Aug 13 (IANS) Since moviegoers in India today are exposed to world cinema in a big way, Priyanka Chopra is surprised that quite a few Bollywood filmmakers still follow the escapist route. But she says her new film "Kaminey" doesn't fall in that category and audiences should come with their thinking caps on.

"Isn't it surprising that whenever there is a Hollywood film playing, we go all ga ga over it, especially when it follows an unconventional narrative? We ask each other when they can do it, why can't we? We are so much in awe of their cinema," Priyanka told IANS.

"However, when it comes to our own movies, we try to play safe stating that we are doing this for our audiences. Come on guys, it's the same audience we are catering to, so why not give them something really new and different to relish?

"Frankly speaking, I don't like it at all when we keep making such statements as so and so film doesn't require audiences to wear a thinking cap," she said.

The actress asks a series of questions regarding the intelligence of the audiences.

"My question is -- why should we underestimate the intelligence of Indian audiences? Why do we believe that they want everything on a platter? Why don't we make a cinema-going experience so exciting and engrossing for them that they actually go on to exclaim 'wow'?" the actress said.

Releasing Friday, "Kaminey" is a dark thriller that revolves around gangsters, rebel soldiers, rogue politicians and crooked cops. Directed by Vishal Bharadwaj, it features Shahid Kapoor in a double role.

Priyanka observes that while good films are working, bad films, despite top star casts and huge budgets, are being rejected by the audience.

"It's as simple as that -- garbage in, garbage out," she said. "Thankfully India is changing for the better and there are some brilliant films being made today."

Ask her to give a few examples and she responds in a jiffy, "Movies like 'Dev D', 'Jodhaa Akbar', 'Rock On' and 'A Wednesday' have worked because they had an original script and were treated so differently and innovatively. These were all intelligent films and not made for kindergarten kids. No wonder audiences grabbed them all in a big way."

She doesn't forget to mention her own movies from 2008 that saw her marching back into the reckoning.

"Both 'Dostana' and 'Fashion' were made within commercial parameters but still had a very good story to tell. These were not frivolous at all. That's the reason they succeeded."

"In fact, the last film that really impressed me this year was 'New York'. Kudos to Yash Raj Films for backing such a subject and making such a good topical entertainer. It was a sensitive story to be told and Kabir Khan treated it with utmost maturity. Hats off.

"These are the kind of films that make you believe that Bollywood is indeed seeing a new direction for better", she said.

(Joginder Tuteja can be contacted at joginder_tuteja@rediffmail.com)

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