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REEL Movie Awards 2019: Situational Humour Drove the Fun Quotient in Stree, Says Director Amar Kaushik

Amar Kaushik, who is nominated in the Best Director category for Stree at the Reel Movie Awards 2019, feels that humour in Bollywood is mostly driven by slapstick, yet they set out to change it.

Devasheesh Pandey | News18.com

Updated:March 12, 2019, 5:26 PM IST
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REEL Movie Awards 2019: Situational Humour Drove the Fun Quotient in Stree, Says Director Amar Kaushik
Amar Kaushik, who is nominated in the Best Director category for Stree at the Reel Movie Awards 2019, feels that humour in Bollywood is mostly driven by slapstick, yet they set out to change it.
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As a teenager, who self-admittedly, while growing up, had to watch a single film over a period of one week due to recurring electricity problems in his city in Arunachal Pradesh, director Amar Kaushik, son of a forest ranger, confesses that demystification of films, and the consequential affair with cinema, happened around the time while he was still a young, small town lad. You will recognise him as the force behind last year's breakout success Stree, a film shot in a schedule of just 37 days. Stree is a supernatural horror comedy, set in the unassuming town of Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh and draws inspiration from an urban legend for its thrills.

Amar's Stree, starring Raj Kummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi and Aparshakti Khurana collected a total of Rs 125 crore at the domestic box office and went on to garner appreciation from the film-going community. Amar is in the running for the Best Director award at upcoming REEL Movie Awards, an initiative by News18 to recognise and reward content-driven cinema.

"I believe that content was always prominent in the Indian film industry. It happened only momentarily that filmmakers sidelined the fact and tried to gain mileage for their films, riding on the names of big stars that featured in them. It was ephemeral. But it is becoming apparent now that indeed content is primary, and things are changing for better. It is an honour for me to be nominated for the REEL Movie Awards and I'd like to thank News18 for considering my work on par with directors like Meghna Gulzar and Sriram Raghavan." (Meghna has been nominated for Raazi and Sriram for Andhadhun)

Stree manages to break away from the usual slapstick shown in Bollywood and instead relies on dialogues, characters and performance for generating humour. The director maintains that it was a conscious decision and a lot of it emerged for the script itself, written by Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru.

"It was deliberately done that way. The script had situational humour and one-liners to drive the fun quotient in the film. Towards the climax, there was a moment where the ghost is just shouting and we felt that there was nothing happening there. So we decided to put in the 'chup' (be quiet!) shout so that the film stays away from over dramatization and sticks to reality instead. It is good that it turned out well. Also, whenever it used to seem like we might go overboard with antics, we managed to stay away from it because that was what we had initially thought of (refers to himself and writers of Stree, Raj and DK)."

Amar had previously worked with Raj and Dk in Go Goa Gone, where he was the first assistant director. In fact, he has also worked in several films as an assistant {Aamir (2008), No One Killed Jessica (2011), Ghanchakkar (2013)}.

Whatever problems Amar had to go through initially, never felt like roadblocks to him and he says now that he was well prepared for them. He, in fact, started enjoying the hard life of a 'struggler', a word he chose not to associate with, as days went by. And it only went on to reveal his true mettle and made him resilient. His advice to upcoming filmmakers is not to rush into things and just imbibe the surroundings around them.

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