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Filmmakers not giving attention to content

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006
New Delhi (UNI): The Hindi films today may be technically superior than those in the 60s and the 70s but in the drive to become 'chic' and 'polished', Indian cinema has, somewhere, lost out on the basic content that is the essential ingredient of any film, veteran filmmaker Yash Chopra says. ''There's been so much progress in the Hindi film industry over the last few decades on the digital and technical side. Too many people are talking about looks, costumes and make-up; everything must be flawless. But I think we have lost something. We are not giving so much importance to content as we did before,'' Yash Chopra said in an interview to the CNN, to be aired this week.

Talking in the interview to CNN's 'The Scene' programme, to be aired throughout this week at 1930 hours, the filmmaker said, ''Today, we are bothered more by the form and less by the content. But the thing that makes a good picture is still the story. I know very good young filmmakers-very competent, very ambitious - but they have to give more thought to the content than the film.'' ''I feel the greatest need today is for ideas. Someone called it complete intellectual bankruptcy. Now people are coming with new ideas but for such a big country we don't have good writers, we don't have scripts. The greatest need for our film industry is stories, scripts and actors. Only then can we make good films,'' Chopra added.

At the same time, he also bemoaned the fall in standards of film music today. ''If you ask me on the music side, I think we have lost the soul. There is no soul in music now. (Earlier) people used to write meaningful lyrics from the heart'' he said. Chopra, considered the most charismatic and powerful director of the Mumbai film industry with a series of hit films to his credit in the recent years, talked about his career as a filmmaker, his fond memories of Mumbai as well as his favourite films.

It was 60 years ago, when he was in college that Yash Chopra decided to be a filmmaker. His brother, B. R. Chopra taught him filmmaking and gave him a chance in 1958. The legend was given his first directorial opportunity with Dhool Ka Phool in 1959. Having directed many memorable films since his debut, from Waqt to Deewar,Kabhi Kabhi to Chandni, Lamhe,Dil To Paagal Hai to Veer Zaara, Chopra seems still as passionate about filmmaking as he was when he came to Mumbai 54 years ago.

''Even today I don't feel like I have done enough as a filmmaker. It may sound like a cliche, but with every good film or a big film your passion increases. Today I'm dying to make a fantastic film. Some subject must excite me. Yesterday is not exciting. I'm looking for something, looking for a script. I'm dying to go on the set and say,''Start, go, cut,'' he said. Among all his films, Chopra considers "Silsila" and "Lamhe" closest to his heart. ''I've been able to make some wonderful films but sometimes you make films with great passion, great belief and these films slightly don't work at the box office and they become your favourite films. So when I say that Silsila and Lamhe are my favorites and not, say, Deewar or Kabhi Kabhi or Chandni, I don't degrade those films. But these two films I say didn't get the success they deserved. So, these films are very, very close to my heart. But I also think there must be something wrong in the films, some weakness, because audiences they want to go and like the film,''the filmmaker said.

Heading for the Hollywood may be the "in thing" today both among Bollywood actors as well as filmmaker, but Chopra has no desires for Hollywood. Asked whether he visualised himself directing a Hollywood film in the near future, he said,''I don't know, maybe if somebody offers but I don't think anybody ever asked me! I'm happy in India because I don't think Hollywood is the end of anybody's journey. I am very proud of being an Indian film director.''

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