By: Praveen Lance Fernandes, IndiaFM
Friday, May 19, 2006
Come this Friday and we will see the release of a film very close to Vikram Bhatt's heart. At least that's what the promos of his film Ankahee have to say. In a press release, Bhatt got very emotional - "Not many years ago, I was torn apart by a relationship that took with it everything. My marriage, my daughter, my life. A heavy price. Ankahee, for me is not a film. It is my life. Unbiased. Uncensored. Untold. But sometimes, regretted."
Right from the inception of the film it was widely speculated that Esha Deol's role was based to be on Vikram's ex- girlfriend Sushmita Sen. But now since the film is nearing release Bhatt seems to be getting a dose of amnesia. He is flatly denying the fact that the film is based on his relationship with the former Miss Universe. According to him the whole episode was media created. We really wonder how many Miss India's he really dated since the leading lady Esha Deol plays the role of a Miss World in the film and the press kit claims it to be a true story.
This is not the first time a filmmaker has made claims of his film being inspired by someone's real life story. Just a month back there was an exactly similar story going around the movie Gangster and this time Mahesh Bhatt was the object of media attraction. While in making, there was buzz that Gangster was loosely based on the life of Abu Salem. But as the release of the movie neared and Abu Salem sent a legal notice to the Bhatts from inside prison, everyone associated to the film pulled back it's analogies with Salem's life.
However this time a leading news channel substantiated the fact showing back-to-back clippings of interviews with Mahesh Bhatt, the first in which he spoke about Gangster being based on Salem's life (while the film was still under production) and the second interview (close to the film's release) wherein he denied his own claims.
The same goes for Mahesh Bhatt's upcoming film Woh Lamhe apparently inspired from his relationship with Parveen Babi. Bhatt again plays the same game here again. "This is not the story of Parveen Babi", says the writer director. In fact he tries to play it safe clarifying "I have taken some moments from my relationship with her. Only certain portions have been sourced." Whether partly or fully inspired, ultimately Parveen Babi will be on people's minds and they will want to watch the film out of curiosity.
Ram Gopal Varma once said, "Films are pieces of fiction and by stating that they are based on a particular person or persons, the audience goes to watch it with a set thinking. Consequently, the entire beauty and essence of this medium is lost. I think that some things are best left to the imagination of a discerning viewer."
Ram Gopal Varma too has made his share of real life inspired movies. When he just started work on Sarkar there was a buzz that the character of Subhash Nagre played by Amitabh Bachchan was loosely based on Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray. Of course he denied any similarities when the movie was ready for release. But then he had a special screening of Sarkar for the Thackerays at their residence just a couple of days before the movie release. We wonder, of all the movies made by RGV why did the Thackerays show interest only in watching Sarkar. Even the Randeep Hooda starrer underworld flick D was touted to be based on the life of underworld don Dawood. However RGV cited that the whole episode was media created.
While on the subject of Bal Thackeray, he also had a screening of Mani Ratnam's Bombay with Amitabh Bachchan (who was the distributor of the film) because he felt that one character from the film was a take on his image.
The modus operandi is simple. There have been many instances where a producer leaks out false information to the media about the film being based on some real life personality. Once, that happens there is a good chance that the media will want to thrive on that piece of information and make a big hullabaloo of it. After that the producer denies it outright. In this whole episode, the producer gets double publicity for his film - first while making the allegations and later by denying them. And all this free of charge!
The filmmakers conveniently put the entire blame on the media. But as they say; there is no smoke without fire. Where does the news originate from? Especially in cases where the movie is just announced and the media surely have no access to the scripts or screenings of the film. There's where all the so-called sources and industry insiders are quoted in the reports.
However that doesn't mean the media has a clean chit in this entire episode. The film industry points fingers at the media and the media points it back to the industry. It's a blame game going out there. There are many instances where the media unnecessarily makes an issue out of trivial resemblances too.
Then there are the usual B-graders which try to create some sort of hype for their films on these lines. The film Adaa - Will Kill You starring Diana Hayden and Gulshan Grover was supposedly based on Princess Diana's divorce, her relationship with Dodi Al- Fayed and her untimely death in a car accident. The film subsequently got shelved.
Jigyaasa starring Hrishitaa Bhat was alleged to be a take on Mallika Sherawat's entry into Bollywood. The film did take potshots of several known names in the industry but in the end, it was just another sleaze fest.
A few weeks later saw the release of Madhubaala, another flick having the film industry as a backdrop. This story was a direct take on the Preeti Jaiin - Madhur Bhandarkar issue where the former charged Bhandarkar of raping her. Ironically while the makers were open about their claims this time promoting it as a true story of a National Award winning director, nobody knows how much of truth was shown in the film.
The producers and director of Chaahat - Ek Nasha spread word that their leading ladies Manisha Koirala and Preeti Jhangiani were playing the roles of international pop stars Britney Spears and Madonna and there would be a scene on their infamous kiss. No kiss and definitely no pop star material. The producers too cited media speculation after the release of the film and said they were misquoted.
If we go to see none of these films mentioned above are actually based on anyone's real life. A really loose inspiration of someone could lead the producers to capitalize on somebody's factual life story.
Another film by the name of Deepa Ka Tarannum is based on the recent story of bar dancer Tarannum. Her limelight in the media sure has made her story Bollywood material. It stars the controversial Preeti Jaiin in the lead.
After the whole Ek Chotisi Love Story controversy, director K. Shashilal Nair said he would be making a film on Manisha Koirala and get her deepest secrets exposed. This quote was made over two years ago and no signs of the film.
And finally a new-comer Neelesh Mulye is planning to make a film on the Abhishek Bachchan - Karisma Kapoor split. The film will include characters based on Karisma's husband, Sanjay Kapoor and her sister Kareena, as well. According to the maker this film will be about Karisma's marriage on the rebound to Sanjay Kapoor, their hurried honeymoon and a subsequent split and finally their coming together. Considering the fact that the entire Abhishek-Karisma who never ever revealed or spoken about to the world by the persons in question, we wonder how does this debutante filmmaker know about their inner secrets.