Prakash Jha: If a good film like Lagaan or Dangal gets boycotted, then I will say yes, boycott has an impact – Exclusive | Hindi Movie News

National Award winning filmmaker Prakash Jha is all set to bring yet another hard hitting story on the silver screen with his film Matto Ki Saikil. The film is a story of a daily wage laborer where Prakash Jha plays the protagonist himself. In a candid conversation with ETimes, the filmmaker opens up on the current plight of Bollywood films, cancel culture, next season of Aashram and more…

This year hasn’t been very good for Hindi cinema, with big ticket films, crashing at the box office. With the OTT options available during the pandemic, do you think the viewers have changed?
I think they have. The period of the pandemic has suddenly given a lot of viewing, a lot of understanding, a lot of entertainment which is available. Believe it or not, now that regional cinema has become the main cinema. But in the regional cinema, they invest and experiment. There they have worked on subjects, on scripts, on something new, whether it is character, subject or relationship oriented or horror, mythology or action. Whereas Hindi cinema has become lethargic in terms of its subjects. They are so poor that they keep finding odd films to remake. They remake south films, or if they are influenced and impressed by foreign cinema, they remake them. They don’t have anything new. The heartland which is so rich with stories, the real, political, mythological, they don’t have the strength or the patience, or time to invest in that. Suddenly, stars or actors have become production houses., churning out films. It’s a competition about who makes how many films in a year, who is worth how much. Obviously cinema will suffer, and that’s exactly what’s happening…

Anupam Kher in a conversation with ETimes recently said that south cinema is relevant because it tells stories, here we sell stars. Your take…

It’s not about selling stars, stars themselves have captured the market. Stars come in, say let’s make film, he will take 110 crore and walk away, the rest have to work for the star. That’s how they are working. Obviously what kind of films they will churn out?

Films and actors are being boycotted, what are your thoughts on the cancel culture?
That will keep on on happening, certain section of people will be against you, not like something that you are doing will be influenced by something, but that has always been there. Now it has become visible, because they can come on social media and talk about it. I will be able to comment on something like this when I have a great film, whether it is Lagaan or Dangal, and that gets boycotted, and people don’t come to see it. Then I will say yes, boycott has an impact. But when you make a weak film, then it’s very difficult to examine, whether it didn’t succeed because of its weakness. Because boycott toh ho gaya, it used to happen before also. It’s not like cinema shut down. People came in numbers to see a film.

When can wee the next season of Aashram?
It’ll come, I don’t know how soon, it’s a work in progress.

Did the boycott/trolling you received for Aashram, disappoint you?

People have been getting offended with me for years. I have now started saying along with all the fundamental rights which our constitution provides us, right to expression, we should add right to be offended. It should become a fundamental right in India, cause we get offended with everything. If a girl wears jeans we get offended. Somebody puts a tikka or reads a shloka we get offended. Aap ke pass right hai to be offended so don’t be afraid.

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