By: Faridoon Shahryar, IndiaFM
Thursday, September 27, 2007
“What are the credentials of these people...what is their understanding of cinema...where does their allegiance lie," said Vidhu Vinod Chopra when asked to react to the comments of a few filmmakers like Farah Khan, Sajid Khan and Anupam Kher who didn"t approve of Eklavya being chosen as the official entry for Oscars this year. “Last year Lage Raho didn"t go, did I, Raju or anybody from my office say why Munnabhai didn"t go, it was a better film. Before that Parineeta didn"t go, Paheli went. Did I say that Shah Rukh made a stupid film. My films didn"t go for two years, I didn"t bother anyone, why are they bothering us now," Chopra said.
The producer-director compared the attitude of certain sections of the film fraternity akin to crab mentality, where one crab pulls down the other one. One person according to him who is not a crab is Ronnie Screwwala, as he was genuinely happy and gave all the sound advice as to how best to push the film. Chopra"s office has also been in touch with Aamir Khan for all his experiences during the promotion of Lagaan.
Before the real battle begins, the controversy on the selection of Eklavya over Bhavna Talwar"s Dharm refuses to die down. “The young filmmaker whose film hasn"t gone, I heard, she has said in Mid Day that Eklavya was a boring film. I can tell her, I saw your film, and I thought it was a load of shit. It"s immature, childish." But what about the resistance within the film industry, even people like Anupam Kher (who"ve worked in films like Parinda and 1942 A Love Story) have said that Chak De India would have been a better choice? “My answer is, maybe Anupam has worked more with some other Chopra. To the film fraternity that is opposing, let me tell them, LA Times has called Eklavya a lost film of David Lean. I wonder if these people who shoot back side asses of women know who David Lean is. David Lean is the God of Cinema. He made 'Lawrence of Arabia." When I heard it, I had tears in my eyes. New York Times called it a heart of classic. These people need to be educated a little bit about cinema," Chopra said.
Eklavya had won good reviews when it was released, but somehow it failed to match the Box Office glory of your last few films like Lage Raho Munnabhai, Parineeta and Munnabhai MBBS? “Parinda was not a huge Box Office success. You know there are filmmakers for whom Box Office success is all that matters. There are others, which I believe I am, who are making films that they believe in. If it succeeds like Lage Raho, we are very happy. But if doesn"t like Eklavya, we are still very happy because we made a film that I believed in. Let me tell you what I read in The Hindustan Times. The reporter said that the film cost Rs. 20 crore. It is wrong. Then it said it ran for 3 weeks. Again wrong. Eklavya ran for 15 weeks. Just to make their story, they have misquoted it."