while ago, while chatting him up for my show on TV, I had queried Sudhir Mishra as to why Hindi film industry fails to produce qualitative movies, unlike the 1960s and 1970s, which have tremendous recall value even in the present day? I markedly remember, Mishra didn't blink an eyelid while answering this one: "That's because most producers are not literate enough to understand scripts that could elevate the standards of Hindi films. Film-making for them is limited to the weekend business these days." The proclamation stayed with me!
When you saunter into a cineplex to watch a Sudhir Mishra film, it's given that this maverick film-maker will serve you non-formulaic stuff. As a viewer, I liked some of his efforts (Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi), but a few didn't live up to my expectations. His new film, Yeh Saali Zindagi, has already generated the buzz for a variety of reasons. It's 'controversial' or 'provocative' title being the key one.
Before I proceed further, let me tell you that the title is of immense significance to the film. Sure, it may sound offensive [the Censor Board chief too raised a hue and cry, asking Mishra to change the title of the film], but why does a commonly used word ['saali'] create an uproar? Actually, I am quite amused at the brouhaha. In our society, we refer to the sister-in-law as saali, don't we? Besides, almost three decades ago, the Dilip Kumar starrer Sagina had a very popular song [which we recall to this day], 'Saala Main To Sahab Ban Gaya' and more recently, 'Pappu Can't Dance Saala' from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na took the nation by storm. Even recently, the word 'Saali' was used in a song from No One Killed Jessica, 'Aali Re Saali Re'. Also, when you view Yeh Saali Zindagi, you realize that 'saali' has been used as a symbol to the vagaries of life and not as a derogatory, abusive, swear word. It's not slang, but a flare-up of expression.