Bollywood was our staple entertainment growing up. Of course, in the 1960s being taken to see a film was a rare treat. Neither did we have television. Film magazines were few and needless to say, there was no Facebook or Twitter. All we had was Binaca Geet Mala on Radio Ceylon and the song fare dished out by Vividh Bharti. So, the staple entertainment of my generation was a rationed out one.
Still, we managed to hero-worship. Movie outings were determined on the basis of the stars acting and nothing much else. It was Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna who lured us to the theatres.
I think that has changed now. Nowadays, the Director of a movie is as much of a star attraction as its cast. In some cases, the Director is the star attraction. We go for a Zoya Akhtar, Ashutosh Gowarikar or Imtiaz Ali film rather than any star cast. Rajnikant or a Salman Khan being perhaps the exception to the prevailing rule.
In such a movie audience era, comes along Rakesh Anand Bakshi’s Directors’ Diaries. Talk about a timely book release!
The book is an anthology really of the journey undertaken by a host of now eminent Bollywood film directors to their first film.
The author artfully takes the reader along on each of their journeys as well. Rakesh Anand Bakshi achieves this by sticking to a regime for each director. You could even say that the book, much like film making, traverses the journey from concept, screenplay, storyboard, casting, direction, camera, lights….action!
Following the interview format, the same set of questions is posed to all the directors, be it Prakash Jha, Subhash Ghai, Santosh Sivan or Anurag Basu and Govind Nihalani. By doing so, Bakshi ensures that each director faithfully records her or his journey to their first film just as if they were writing in their own diaries. Followed by any advice they may have to the next generation or film director aspirants. The last is drawn out artfully through a question, “When your child grows up, and if he or she comes up to you and says he or she wants to be a film maker, what advice will you offer?”
Therein lies the value of this book.
Reading the work, at first I thought the author had erred by choosing a repetitive format for each director’s story. But as I read on, I soon changed my mind when I realised the value of sticking to the script. The format keeps the director and reader on track to achieve the book’s purpose!
The book has another meritorious point. In spite of each chapter following the same Q&A format, the personality of each Bollywood Star Director shines through. It was easy to see the in-the-face attitude of a Mahesh Bhatt, the breezy humour of a Farah Khan or the ‘I will blaze my own trail’ attitude of a Vishal Bhardwaj.
And accolades are due the author for that!
#Bollywood #FilmMaking #FilmDirectors
Featured Cover Image: Directors’ Diaries Book Cover – Image shot by Lata Subramanian from her Kindle edition.