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The Power maker

Rajkumar Santoshi is a man of few words. But then, here is a filmmaker who has always let his films — Andaz Apna Apna to Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Ghayal to Ghatak and Pukar to Khakee — do all the talking. Santoshi was in Calcutta last week as a special guest for the launch of the portal of Purple Movie Town, a modern film city coming up on the southern fringes of the city.

“I truly believe that the Indian film industry lacks space to shoot and that is why you will find us run ning to foreign locations for every second film or renting extremely expensive sets. Once we have a few more economically-viable studios like Purple Movie Town, most of the work will happen there,” said Santoshi, when t2 caught up for a quick chat. But the filmmaker had a word of caution for the owners of Purple Movie Town. “I would like to tell them to make sure that they have special areas reserved for film shoots. In Mumbai, most of the studios are taken up by television crew to shoot soaps and reality shows on a daily basis, and Bollywood is left out in the cold.”

Coming to his vast filmography, Santoshi has effortlessly hopped from action to drama to comedy to romance. “It’s something that comes naturally to me. Honestly, I don’t sit and plan and think that my next film will be an action or a romantic comedy or a melodrama. An idea just comes to me and then I sit and develop it with my team of writers. Only when I am confident about my entire script do I start a film, no matter what the genre is,” he smiled.

Santoshi’s last film was the Ranbir Kapoor-Katrina Kaif rom com Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani that rocked the box office. His next release will be the multistarrer Power, an action drama starring Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt.
“Power is an action-packed film, a lot like the action dramas of the ’70s. We are still shooting it, but I am very happy with the way the film is shaping up.”

 

With Power still on the floors, Santoshi has already moved on to his next project. He now directs Abhishek Bachchan and wife Aishwarya in a romantic comedy called Ladies and Gentlemen. “It’s a film on the lines of Andaz Apna Apna and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, but the comedy is not slap stick,” says Santoshi. The director’s pick of the most promising in GenX Bolly? “Ranbir Kapoor, without a doubt. He’s just six or seven films
old, but Ranbir can now carry an entire film on his shoulders.”

Having always built his films around big stars, Santoshi is now looking to concentrate on smaller projects with newer faces. “The problem with Bollywood is that the big stars call the shots in almost every aspect of filmmaking. Everything revolves around them, they even want a cut in the profits now. That needs to change immediately for Bollywood to take a new direction,” warns Santoshi.

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