I am never typed: Anant Mahadevan

A prominent media personality Anant Mahadevan, actor and director of Hindi films and television serials, with a movie like- Red alert: The war within, which was based on a true story. He has been associated with movies like- Dil Vil Pyar Vyar, Aksar, Dil Mange More etc. He talks about the actors, the challenges, Indian audience and his upcoming movie.

Anant Mahadevan

The movie Red Alert was appreciated internationally. What did you expect from the Indian audiences?

I think Indian audiences have started being exposed to global cinema. And Red Alert was based on a real life story; it is a human story in any environment. According to me, a film has to be honest to be successful. It was my first step towards speaking a global language. At Stuttgart Film Festival, when the movie was screened, there was pin-drop silence throughout the movie. A German source has given 5 star rating to the movie as well.

What was going on in your mind when you approached Sameera Reddy for a non-glamorous role?

I am never typed and always believe in breaking an image. Not even while casting Sameera but I enjoyed casting all the actors. If you see there is a mixture of actors in the movie. There are actors from theatre, actors from Bollywood, actors from south and actors who will be appearing on screen after a long time.

Red Alert

What challenges you had to face while making the movie?

It is so far my most difficult film. Right from the time of pre-production, to shooting and the release. Everything about the movie is different and difficult. It took nine months in the whole making of the movie and 40 days of shooting. But I am married to my work and have done the work according to my satisfaction.

What’s about you receiving National Award and what is next in line?

I received National Award for a Marathi film which is also based on a real story, titled, “Mee Sindhutai Sapkal”. The movie is based on a 60 year old lady named Sindhutai Sapkal, who picks up abandoned kids and brings them up. The story is not about her but it is an incredible story of survival. I got the award in 2010 for Best Screenplay and Dialogues for this successful Marathi movie with Sanjay Pawar. Currently I am working on Gaur hari dastan.

In conversation with…

‘Positive mind leads to a good film’

I got an opportunity to chat up with Mr. Kaushik Bhaumik, who is the Deputy Director of Osian’s Cinefans of Asian and Arab Cinema, New Delhi and is also the co-editor of “visual sense” a cultural reader published by BERG Oxford, about recent changes into the film making process and documentary making. Here is what he said.

Digital technology has transformed the way of making movies. What is your take on that?

Now the technician and technology are great. If you want to make a theatrical or cutting edge, out of the box film, so you can do that. With this technology, anything is possible. Two kinds of films are being made. One side complex films are made, which are a challenge to the existing technology. More sharper the technology becomes, you can come closer to what it is actually. The opposite is also happening, really slow films are also being made, they capture time, nature beauty, duration and silence.

Is digital technology taking over the traditional techniques?

Digital technology allows the equipment become lighter. Camera can go everywhere, you can experiment your wild ideas. It allows you to play with extremes. Digital is something by itself. Digital cannot be mixed with analog or electronic. Surely you can work with 35 mm camera but you can do wonders with a digital camera. Digital is like a magic box, it’s a manipulative device. Traditional methods are like sophisticated toys, where within the boundaries you can play. But digital is like a toy meant to break all boundaries. Digital is a playful medium.

There is less audience for documentary films as compared to main stream cinema, what do you think about it?

After 1940-50’s there came a boom in the documentary making. Documentary is made when there is a crisis; today there are many environmental crisis films, because that is what happening. Crisis allows audience towards these crisis related films. India in recent year has been seen having a certain level of excitement, there is not much of a crisis but there is an emotional change. So the change in thinking there and gradually it will definitely change.

Do you think that ever the documentary will come up to the level of main stream cinema?

That is not the point. It’s about what people want to watch. What we need is a matured society where people are allowed to make what they what to and also find audiences for that. Point is to just allow things to happen.

Anything that you would like to say to young film makers.

Young filmmakers should be sure of what they are making. People start compromising on what they believe in and try making other people happy. Other most important thing is learn the technology well. Try and do something experimental and out of the box. Lot of attitude goes in making a movie.

Lyrics mein twist

Gone are the days when the references in the songs were moon, sun, silk, flowers etc etc, natural things.

Refer to these-

Chudhvi ka chaand ho… (Listen full)

Chand mera dil, chandani ho tum… (Listen full)

Suraj hua madham… (Listen full)

There used to be a beautiful rhythm in these, but times have definitely changed.

With the latest emerging trends, the newest symbols are- Sheila and Munni.

Salman Khan’s latest flick ‘Ready’ saw the use of these “new symbols” in his song- Character dheela.

“…Fark padta hai kya baahon mein
Munni hai ya sheela hai
Ishak ke namm pe karte
sabhi ab raas leela hai…”

Also the upcoming movie- ‘Bin Bulaye Baraati’, will see Mallika Sherawat shaking a leg on a song, claiming her being better than our beloved ‘Sheila ‘ and ‘Munni’!

“…Munni bhi mani aur Sheela bhi maani
Shalu ke thumke ki duniya deewani…”

If this trend continues to be prevailing, your ears might have to bear torture like this-

Sheila ki jawani ki kasam, mein tujhse pyar karta hun,

Munni ki badnaami ki kasam, mein tumpe maarta hun… (This one sounds really bad right? Guess what, I know! ;))

Our fashion and films- the never ending bond

Haven’t you ever longed to get the haircut of your favorite movie star? Or haven’t you desired to wear the same clothes that your favorite star had worn?

The answer is yes. We at some point do try to follow films, whether you accept this or not. In our normal lives, when we see the larger than life movies, fascination does follow. People tend to incorporate some parts of those movies, into their lives. Our movies in some way appeal to us, we can easily relate to whatever is happening on the big screen, to our lives. The first step in this regard happens to be the follow up of the fashion trends that they set. Maybe because that is the easiest thing we can do. Of course, common people like us, cannot go and fight with twelve people to impress a pretty girl.

This phenomenon has been in fashion since the starting of bollywood. Right from Sadhna cut, Babita’s tight churidar kurtas and dog collars to John Abraham’s hairstyles, Deepika’s kurtis and Abhishek’s stubble. Kareena‘s patiala salwar and long tee look in Jab We Met became a rage among college going girls!

John Abrahim's different styles

The link or the bond between fashion and films has been strong. Apparel industries also rely on films to promote and popularize fashion trends. These trends do not concentrate at only one part of the society but they touch each corner of the society. They effect the wants of the people.

Sadhna Cut Hairstyle

After the release of Jodha Akbar, all the brides-to-be wanted the same jewellery and clothes that Ashwariya had worn in the movie. College going girls and boys’ wardrobe underwent changes after the release of films like Kuch kuch hota hai and Jane tu ya jane na. Dressing of corporate sector got inspired by the movie Corporate. Middle aged people wanted to put on the same clothes showcased in Baghban. I am sure that after seeing Amitabh Bachchan in those tattered clothes, ruffled hair and smudged face in bhootnath, Indian ghosts might be following him. Not only in garments, but these movies inspired trends can also be seen in haircuts, accessories, nail shapes, specs, watches makeup and don’t know what else.

Aishwariya's look in Jodha Akbar

The sari designers also play and earn their living, saris are named after blockbuster movies and these saris also become famous. The barbers earn their humble living by giving their customers the emulating haircuts of their favorite film stars. Guys burn their calories to get John’s butt or Salman’s biceps or Shahrukh’s six pack abs. So you see, these fashion trends also serve as the source of income for many.

These trends also change very often, just like Oscar Wilde has said- “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”

Sometimes the trends are not deliberate but happen accidentally. In the movie Deewar, when Amitabh Bachan’s costumes arrived, it was realized that the shirt was longer, so he tied it from the lower end to his waist, which in turn become hot style during that time.

In this time when the film stars are worshipped and followed, there are many who do not believe in following trends. For them comfort and self thinking comes first. There are some who don’t care, while some just create their own definition of what is fashionable and what’s not.  It is solely depends upon one’s thinking. It’s about how one is – hero worshipper or own styler!

I Hate Love Storys

I saw this Bollywood movie and actually realized that it might seem fun to be in love and talk about it but, love is not actually, what it looks like!

These romantic movies do seem nice and very emotional, but have you ever questioned the practicality of these love stories?? NO.

Because they seem so perfect and we as human beings, always want things to go perfect in our lives. But in that desire of ours, we get so engrossed that we leave reality far behind. The kind of love that we are exposed to while we are growing up is very unrealistic and lacks practicality. So, when we even imagine about love, we automatically fall for slow motion scenes, soft background score, and things which I don’t think I need to even mention, because you might have already began imagining a romantic scene from a movie.

romantic movie

In these transforming years, we have forgotten the essence of love and believe only to that which we have easy access. And easily available is that material which, “sells”, why would the producers of such unrealistic matter like to suffer losses. They make that material which sells; the material which they know is not natural. But like a dream which they would like to be fulfilled in their life.

Alas! In this profit making process, somewhere the innocence and naturalness of love is lost. Now all we know about love is half-baked and this is the reason why it hurts to be in love, nowadays.

Love is not supposed to be painful.

This great person here said some heart touching words.

Neil Gaiman once said- “Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.

You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it.

They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart.

It hurts.

Not just in the imagination.

Not just in the mind.

It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain.

I hate love.”

All I would say is that it is easy to love, but difficult to maintain it.

I am not against loving. And not even saying that love is smooth like feather, it also has its share of ups and downs.

But I propagate the correct timing of finding your loved one.