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"Sanjay Leela Bhansali has the potential of making a great film some day if he stops being clever." - Sudhir Mishra

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By: Faridoon Shahryar, IndiaFM
Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"There is an awesome amount of talent in India, but our film industry has to be freed from the clutches of intellectually bankrupt feudal masters who can't think beyond the Star System," says critically acclaimed director Sudhir Mishra whose much-applauded film Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi won recognition all over the world.

Mishra is a filmmaker with an impressive repertoire of films like Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin Dharavi, Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi, Chameli and Calcutta Mail. He added a new dimension recently when Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms agreed to produce the remaking of his first film Yeh Woh Manzil to Nahin. "It was the first film that I made on a limited budget with class actors like Habib Tanvir and Pankaj Kapoor. I want to reinterpret the two characters involved in a student movement in a small town."

After Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi, in Bahut Nikle Mere Armaan, he has once again taken a line from a popular Ghalib Couplet. "I am from Lucknow and obviously Urdu poetry comes naturally to me. Ghalib is part of our heritage. If you are in Bengal, then obviously you'll be influenced by Tagore. Similarly, when you are in Lucknow, you are bound to be influenced by Ghalib," he justifies. He is still in the process of finalizing the cast of Bahut Nikle Mere Armaan and except for Shiny Ahuja (The actor whom he introduced in Hazaron...and who won all the best debutante trophies this year), rest of the cast is yet to be finalized.

For a man who has always narrated original story ideas, Sudhir Mishra is upset with film makers who cry hoarse about piracy. "It's a case of pot calling the kettle black. So many Indian films are direct lifts of foreign films. If you don't respect the copyright of others, then why will you be taken seriously? There's too much mediocrity and there's no option other than the greedy makers filching from DVDs. Maybe a CEO like culture and with more Corporates coming in, it shall make things better," he says.

He is also of the opinion that the Government of India should take the Indian Film Industry more seriously. According to him, little or nothing is done for the betterment of the stature of our films. "Film Industry is not merely an industry. It is a cultural investment for long periods. Maybe something should be done for the state of cartoon or animation films in India as our children blindly follow and ape the American cartoons. Childhood is a very impressionable age. What is true for American culture need not be true for Indian culture."

And would he like to do a typical commercial film with song and dance routine? "I find nothing wrong with song and dance routine. What is wrong is bad aesthetics, vulgarity, crudity, giving credence to loafer mentality and presenting women in a sick way. I don't want to be part of such films," Mishra says defiantly.

We rounded up by noting the list of his favourite film makers and actors. " Shekhar Kapoor, Ketan Mehta, Anurag Kashyap, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Vinod Chopra, Aziz Mirza and Farhan Akhtar. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has the potential of making a great film some day if he stops being clever. Amongst the actors, I like Rani Mukherjee, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Chitrangada, Sanjay Dutt, Shiny Ahuja, Vivek Oberoi and Ajay Devgan."

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