With `Dev', Govind Nihalani steps beyond the art-commercial divide, finds out ZIYA US SALAM
I don't believe in that watertight compartmentalisation of commercial and art cinema.
I believe in good films. Period.
An actor who is a star is not necessarily a bad performer.
The so-called commercial filmmakers are not as haphazard as they are often taken to be.
A realistic film need not be a synonym for a boring film.
WELCOME TO the brave new world of Govind Nihalani, the man who gave us Aakrosh and Ardha Satya, was once the second unit director-cinematographer of Gandhi, and not long ago had a dalliance with futuristic cinema in Deham.
Now with a Takshakbehind him, he is ready with Dev,on the face of it yet another cop saga. But then Nihalani being Nihalani, he is at pains to say that it is unlike any film he has shot in the past. And we have seen.
"A cop in one film is not like a cop in another film. Many cop films are action-oriented, there is little against the system. In Dev, action is limited to realistic situation. A lot of inner life of a cop is portrayed. He is shown as a human being. As for Dev after Deham, well, after every film I have to begin from scratch. I have to get the earlier film out of the system and then work afresh.
"To work with Amitabh Bachchan was a dream come true. It was a treat for me, as it would be for any director. When he is on the sets, there is nothing else on his mind. He is there. Period. He is a good listener and open to suggestions. No tantrums or ego trips with him. In Dev, he plays a joint commissioner of police. He specially told me that he was playing a cop in a couple of other films. But when I related the script to him, he agreed."
What about Kareena Kapoor and Fardeen Khan, aren't they there to add some youthful appeal and run around the trees?
"I have gone for people who are essentially good performers. It is wrong to believe that an actor who is a star is a bad performer. Everybody in the film was given a clear character sketch, complete story.
"Kareena Kapoor was apt for the role, she has come up with outstanding work. She has even sung a song for the film. Fardeen plays a cynical, angry young man who is in the wilderness, at the receiving end of the system initially, then comes around to join the mainstream. He has brought combustible energy to his role."
If there is Big B with Kareena and Fardeen, is not it yet another cop saga with little to offer in terms of novelty?
"It is wrong to arrive at such conclusions because of the presence of certain actors. They are there because they suit the role. Mine is a realistic film with five songs, but never do Fardeen and Kareena burst into a song and dance. Nobody sings songs in the film. They are there to enhance the emotional content of the film. Instead of sticking to stereotypes, the media should also give certain benefit to a contemporary story. It is an original story, not an `inspired' one. It has a first-time storyteller Meenakshi Sharma, who has a police background. Some instances have been taken from real life. It is an unusual film where people should expect a certain sensitivity and an enjoyable film which defies easy stereotypes."
Now if realism can be enjoyable!
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