Will directors ever get their due?

Published On: 2012-05-22

Author: unknown

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Will Bollywood directors ever get their due?

Source: INAS

NEW DELHI: Three years ago, Hrithik Roshan was hailed as the brightest star of the new millennium as he danced and flexed his well-toned biceps into a million hearts with his debut film.

A clutch of box-office disasters and ceaseless controversies later, the immensely talented actor is back in the reckoning, with his latest movie Koi Mil Gaya receiving record advance bookings and superlative praise.

But nothing much seems to have been said about the man who wields the megaphone.

Whether it was Raj of Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai or Rohit of Koi Mil Gaya, both were director-producer Rakesh Roshan's creations portrayed by his son Hrithik.

Roshan's films may not be the greatest works of art but they are undoubtedly in sync with the pulse of the nation. But has the actor-turned-director, much like innumerable men and women behind the camera, got his due?

For long Bollywood stars have towered over their directors.

Unlike in other countries where D W Griffith, Sergei Eisenstein, Akira Kurosowa and Frederico Fellini have been hailed as the fathers of cinema, it has not been so in India even when Satyajit Ray was around.

For two decades, scripts were written solely to provide a larger than life image for a tall and immensely versatile actor-star Amitabh Bachchan.

A reclusive Aamir Khan has always been credited with ghost-directing his roles, and a living legend like Shyam Benegal struggles to find theatres for his film, Samar after being in the industry for 40 years!

Bollywood directors have not managed to rope in audience on their own merits. Bollywood's Ghais, Chopras, Bhansalis and Dhawans cannot guarantee a fan following unless they are backed by solid star power.

On the eve of the release of Koi Mil Gaya..., Rakesh was in a fix when asked the selling point of the film. "Is it Hrithik or me? Hard to say," was his response.

"If tomorrow Koi Mil Gaya fails at the box office, it won't be Hrithik's fault. He is a good actor and good actors don't fade away. They just have good and bad phases.

"A good actor is a good actor. Period. He can't be brilliant in one film and bad in the next because he's the same performer. If something doesn't work out right it's unfair to blame him.

"The problem probably lies with the screenplay, the casting or may be the director himself. The actor's job is only to satisfy the director," he adds.

By that logic, why should all the bouquets go to the actor when a film does well at the box-office? Bollywood directors have long avoided the sticky wicket of a film sans a handful of stars.

The gamble becomes extremely worthwhile in today's scenario where, although every top star earns hundreds of thousands as his fees, few films get back that money for distributors.

This only makes the star fetish more ridiculous, say trade observers.

But filmmakers like Ram Gopal Varma are set to turn the tide. Varma's films prove that if a subject is good, stars don't matter.

Here is for more power to he who wields the megaphone!