A brand new script
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Cinema, like life, is always evolving and that's the way it should be," said filmmaker Ramesh Sippy. Sippy — along with filmmakers Anurag Basu, Govind Nihalani, Habib Faisal, Abhinav Kashyap, Sriram Raghavan and actor Rishi Kapoor — was on the panel of Screen Big Picture held on October 18, at Express Towers, Mumbai to talk about the evolution of storytelling in Bollywood since its inception 100 years ago.
Kapoor, who belongs to the first family of Bollywood, spoke about how he has been a part of the industry for 84 years. "We (the industry) made 91 silent films before we started making talkies. After that we made mythological films. The trend changed when India won its independence. We were a young budding nation with lot of problems, and this transcended into socially-relevant cinema. When I came into films, the audience was extremely forgiving, and most of us ended up doing three to four films in the lost-and-found genre. Now, when I see my son Ranbir working, I see the competitiveness prevalent in the industry."
Nihalani, one of the pioneers of the parallel cinema movement in India in the '80s, added that storytelling, over years has also been influenced by the source of funds. "I made films for NFDC with zero interference. I could do whatever I wanted."
While the narrative of storytelling has evolved over years, Faisal and Kashyap believe that trends keep recurring in Bollywood. Talking about his portrayal of the common man in his film Do Dooni Chaar, Faisal said, "The common man was the protagonist during the phase when Bimal Roy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee made their movies. Somewhere in between, he got lost and it seemed that putting a visa stamp on your passport was crucial to making any film, even if it meant going to Brunei or Maldives. But now, the common man has been rediscovered."