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Chennai Express: Has the interpretation of comedy changed?

Divya Pal | http://divyapal2013

Updated: August 19, 2013, 12:50 AM IST
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Chennai Express: Has the interpretation of comedy changed?
We asked the filmmakers and scriptwriters if the comedy genre has started to become scary.

New Delhi: For many, 'Chennai Express' is not one of the most consistently amusing film in Bollywood, which is strange considering it has set a new record at the ticket window. The Shah Rukh Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer, as many critics believe, neither has a surfeit of comic scenes, nor a convincing script. Instead, it offers forced humour. Nonetheless, movie buffs, who don't agree with the critics, are flocking to theatres in huge numbers, helping the film to smash all records and race towards the Rs 200 crore mark.

While the film continues to perk up everyone's interest, courtesy big stars SRK and Deepika, we asked the filmmakers and scriptwriters if the comedy genre has started to become scary, if its interpretation has changed and why are the viewers being invariably offered torturous and senseless comedies.

Where's the comedy? It is just over-the-top circus now:

Actor Farooque Sheikh, who has been a part of several memorable and popular films, feels a strong script is the vital element to crack up the viewers. "A comedy film depends entirely on the script writing. If the script is amusing on the paper, only then can it be entertaining on the screen. Unfortunately, what we get to see today is over-the-top circus. Script writing isn't even engrossing on the paper let alone its impressive on-screen translation. Also, a lot of this depends on the sensibility and merit of the scriptwriter," he rues.

It is more about the star power

According to filmmaker Satish Kaushik, projects which boasts huge names have the potential to set the cash registers ringing at the Box Office. "The whole configuration of filmmaking has changed. Now, it is all about the power of the star to generate huge revenue. Agar picture unees bees bhi hoti hai tab bhi actor ki wajah se successful hoti hai. Also, the stakes in filmmaking are very high. Filmmaking is now pure business. Kharche baddh gaye hain. Films ki promotions mei kaafi paise lag jaata hai. So it is important for the filmmakers to recover the money they invest," he says.

Viewers can't be held responsible for this trend
More often than not the onus of the dearth of intelligent movies lies on the viewers. While many think that the filmmakers' disinterest to take up unique stories is an offshoot of viewers' preferences, Farooque says, it is the duty of the director to make a film which neither lacks wit nor the nuance. "Viewers will lap up what is offered to them. If they only have two options to choose from, what will they do? But if they have about 10 options, they can at least consider what to watch. Unfortunately, in Bollywood it is only about how much the movie makes in its opening week. The Box Office number has become the sole determinant factor, which is why everything else takes a back seat. If 'Golmaal', 'Chalti Ka Naam Gadi', or Sai Paranjpaye's projects are best comedy films of all times, that's because their content was strong," says Farooque.

Filmmakers need to take risks
Himanshu Sharma, who wrote the script for 'Raanjhanaa', says it is high time the filmmakers took risks, accepted challenges, experimented with the concepts, and aimed at shaking up the viewers. "If viewers aren't getting to watch sensible movies that's because the directors aren't working on those kind of films. They all find it comfortable to stick to the same old formula. Since nobody is trying to do anything new, nobody knows what will really work. Raju Hirani made 'Munnabhai' series, and everybody loved it. So why can't we get more such films?" he questions.

Farooque too reiterates the same sentiment. According to him, the huge revenue generated is making the filmmakers stick to the tried and tested ways. "If you wont try anything how would you know if it is a winning or losing proposition?" says Farooque.

Filmmaker Asthana Nupur says, "I'm certainly dying to watch another 'Chupke Chupke' or 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron' from our generation. We definitely don't make enough classic comedies!"

Reactions to the trend

So is the trend of making films, which are panned by critics for having no redeeming attributes, not even the humor, but loved by the viewers, annoying? "I'm not annoyed with this trend, but highly disappointed. This trend is restricting the talent we have. There are good producers and directors who aren't getting a chance to do their projects. What we get to see is just bawdy, unwatchable and vulgar comedy," asserts Farooque.

But Himanshu is hopeful of the trend to undergo a change soon. "I think the trend can change any Friday. After all, the viewers also want to see meaningful comedies," he says.

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