If You Criticise Directly, People will Not Listen, Says Bala Director Amar Kaushik
Director Amar Kaushik.
Baldness, beer bellies or defining a woman with her curves and complexions – we tend to fall in this social narrowness while studying in schools, appearing for interviews and while choosing your dream partner. Most of us know how textbooks defined ‘36, 24, 36’ as best shapes of female and how ‘ugliness’ led to dowry two years back. This social evil is so much deep rooted in our society that a woman committed suicide after her husband used to taunt her for her dark skin in Gurugram in 2014 and in Bihar, a bride refused to marry her groom for being bald in 2018. While most of us struggling with our appearance, Amar Kaushik’s ‘Bala’ came with a strong social message - Why at all we need to change our self and why not doing something good for the society.
Amid his busy schedule, Amar Kaushik spoke exclusively to News18’s Sujit Nath over telephone and shared what prompted him to direct ‘Bala’.
Q. Body shaming, complexions are social evil for decades and you tried to give a strong social message through Movie ‘Bala’ with excellent comedy content. What prompted you to direct ‘Bala’? I mean how this idea came to your mind?
A. Actually, we had a script written by Kolkata based writer Pavel (Bhattacharjee). While going through the script, I thought to add more content in the story and Niren Bhatt ji (script writer) included more meat based on my personal experience like how I was also suffering from the same problem. I was also facing the hair loss problem at young age. Then, we thought not only baldness, we should add other areas of inferiority complexes in a human being and how they keep struggling with it in a day to day life. When we came out with the final script, I met several directors but didn’t get satisfactory response as we were expected. Then, I have decided to direct this movie and it come our quite well. I would like to thank the audience that they liked the movie.
Q. You try to maintain a balance between comedy and peg of your movie scripts. You do it intentionally or this is just the way you work?
A. Good observation. Well, yes I do it intentionally... I try to maintain a balance between comedy and crux of my movie scripts. The whole idea is to send a strong message in the society in such a way that people on both side (those who are suffering and those who bully people) should get the message without being feel offended. These are sensitive issues (body shamming, complexion etc) in our society and I always try to handle it with full sensitivity. In ‘Stree’ (movie), you must have noticed that I tried to keep a balance between comedy and horror. I attempted to give a message against chauvinism by putting forth a strong message of feminism. Similarly, in ‘Bala’ I tried the same thing and people actually liked it. I personally feel that you have to show the mirror (those who are suffering and those who bully people) to help them from coming out of their respective sets of mind, thought and vision. We all don’t like hard/direct criticism but the same thing if you do it through powerful content with little bit of comedy, it works. If you criticise directly, people will confront you and they will not listen to you. But there are other ways to send the message.
Q. Whom you will give credit to whatever you are today and what is your next movie?
A. See, my upbringing helped me a lot in understanding social values and for that I would like to thank my parents. Especially my mother, she has lot of contribution in making me what I am today. My wife is equally very supportive and I get the ‘going instinct’ from my daughter who is six years old now. My colleagues are also very encouraging and keep helping me in delivering some good content oriented movies. I was born in Kanpur but I spent some quality time in Arunachal Pradesh because my father was posted there. In Arunachal Pradesh, I grew up noticing how powerful women are. They are so hard working and capable of doing all the jobs. Unfortunately, such thing is not there in cities. Still, we see women at the receiving end in many places in India. My mother taught me how to respect a woman and why we should not offend anyone in our society with objectionable comment. I remember, even I used to taunt by friends by calling them ‘Takla’ (bald)...’Mota’ (obese)..But later I realised that it’s not good. I think, I get this basic training on social values from Arunachal Pradesh.
I am working in two movies but everything is in a preliminary stage. May be in coming one and half months, I will be in position to tell you.
Q. Coming back to ‘Bala’, you must have gone through news articles on school textbooks defining difference between a beautiful woman and an ugly one. How youngsters face problem with their looks in schools, colleges, during interviews, dating etc. Recently, a nursing student in Kolkata committed suicide because she was finding it difficult to understand lectures in English. We saw, how a Kolkata St Xavier college student committed suicide because he was finding it difficult to adjust with the city fast life? What messages you want give to these youngsters?
A. This is exactly what we showed in ‘Bala’. The movie starts from Kanpur where a school student named Balmukund ‘Bala’ Shukla used to tease his bald teacher. He was so proud of his looks and hair and how he used to borrow notes from the studious and dark-complexioned Latika and passes them off to the fair-complexioned Shruti to impress her. We introduced the character ‘Kubja’ (a hunchbacked woman who was made beautiful by Lord Krishna) in the movie, which is there is several books. We showed that how Latika (who played the role of ‘Kubja’ in school drama) grew up in confidence despite having dark complexion and won Bala’s (Ayushmann Khurrana) heart with her inner beauty and success. This confidence is very important. I would like to appeal all the youngsters that please don’t try to change yourself just because you want to look good. Be confident of what you are and do good thing for society. Why to change yourself? Just because others are not liking your looks and personality? I don’t agree and I request everyone in the society to be good by heart and you will see things started fallen in front of you. It’s all about beauty within. I think there should be a special attention towards these social issues in schools because that is the place where our children spend most of the time. I advise to all is accept the way you are and you will see the world become more beautiful. I feel bad when I see matrimonial advertisement which values beauty and fair-skin over other achievements.
Q. I heard that you don’t believe in the phrase ‘first impression is the last impression’. Why so?
A. Yes, based on my personal experience, I felt that this is wrong to judge a person on first interaction. This is also one of the social problems, which we often ignore. It may not be possible that the person who impressed you in the first meeting will do wonders for you. Similarly, an unimpressive person who was rejected in interviews may not be necessary that he or she will not perform well. I think, you got to know a person after meeting him or her couple of times. I know there are people who were rejected in life just because they were not impressive and failed to get attention in the first meeting but believe me all of them are well settled and doing great job.
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