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Four people can’t decide what should be viewed and spoken by the nation: Prakash Jha

Director turned actor Prakash Jha (Photo by: Darshan Bagwe)


After being lauded for his political and socio-political films like Apahran, Rajneeti, Aarakshan, Mrityudand, etc, the eight times National Award winner, Prakash Jha, marked his debut as an actor in his directorial movie – Jai Gangaajal. While he believes that parallel cinema is consumed at par with commercial and mainstream cinemas, as every audience has many instincts, Jha has been spearheading growth in areas like health care, vocational training and infrastructure facilities in his birthplace Bihar. In an exclusive interview with Nation next, director turned actor Prakash Jha, speaks about his views on parallel cinema and censorship in movies. He feels that despite being a celebrity, one must put across his honest opinion in front of the society without the fear of criticism.

Excerpts:

Jai Gangaajal marked your debut as an actor. Did your technical background (as a director) help you in understanding the requirements of the work of an actor?

For me, movie making begins from a thought process. Most of the films begin with a thought that develops into a research. I meet several characters and eventually, representation of several characters begin to take shape. For me, to understand and know the character, attitude and their mannerism has not been difficult because that’s what I have been doing. I write my own scripts, stories and dialogues. So, when I’m writing, all the characters are actually playing their part in my mind and they are speaking their dialogues. So, I’m the first one to see my film even before it’s made. Likewise, I could visualise my character (of police officer BN Singh) in Jai Gangaajal. To understand that character was not difficult for me. As an actor, the real challenge lies in physically translating the imagined character into a real character.

Amruta Fadnavis recorded a spiritual song for your film Jai Gangaajal. Please tell us something about it?

She has an amazing voice. The film had a bhajan at a very crucial time and she rendered it beautifully.

You are one of the few celebrated directors, who focus on socio-political stories. What is the inspiration and motive behind such movies

The society is my hero. I keep observing any social development and change that happen in the society for whatever reason. I try to find out why and how something is happening and what kind of impact it leaves. My films are based on issues that surround us on a daily basis. My movies don’t depend on an individual; rather it depends on many individuals. Such things draw my attention. Right now, I’m talking about young India with a huge aspiration, which is under tremendous pressure.

You have always portrayed a real India in your films through art and commercial films by holding on to your roots in them. How do you feel to be regarded as a director in the league of Govind Nihalani, Shyam Benegal, Kundan Shah, Sai Paranjpye, etc?

The most important element in my film is ?dust. To create a shot using dust, for a minutes duration, we need at least 50 people who have to rub their feet on the ground so that the dust rises. I like portraying such details because I can relate to them. For e.g. children who play in dust are more immune from diseases. The more you keep everything sanitised, the more you are prone to health issues.

Parallel cinema focuses on realism and serious content. Do you feel parallel cinema is gradually dying?

Films like Masaan, Titli, The Lunchbox, etc have been well received not just nationally but internationally too and that too commercially. They have served a particular audience. Not that other commercial mainstream movies don’t need to be made; audiences need such movies as well. We are spiritual, but not all the time. We even go to red light areas. Even if we might not go there, mentally we might be occupied with the thought. Every instinct needs different kinds of movies.

Your movies focus majorly on political and social issues. Are your films commercial star casts and raunchy item songs (for e.g. Manyata Dutts item song in Gangaajal), primarily for providing commercial sale-ability? to your films

Manyatas song was apt for the atmosphere and suited the film’s culture. It was the requirement of the plot.

Talking about the society, you said there is no intolerance in the country and the society is strong. But aren’t we tolerant for most of the wrongdoings in our society as well?

We are not tolerant. We are still waking up to many things. When we talk about intolerance in our society, it’s primarily about ideologies. There may be fear in people’s mind (like Karan Johar, Shahrukh Khan, Amir Khan) and I respect their fear. If you ask me, I have no fear. I have never experienced any fear. If there are things I believe in, I have fought for them even when there were obstacles.

You are of the view that India doesn’t need censorship. Wouldn’t the banning of the same lead to moral corruption?

Suppose, a street sells only pornographic material. People won’t stand there all the time. If you have double meaning songs being sung all the time, people won’t like it. We are intelligent enough to understand what is good for us and what is bad for us. Four people (Censor Board) can’t decide what should be viewed and spoken by the nation.

Sonu Nigam recently said that everybody has a right to an opinion except for a celebrity. Do you agree with him?

If you have an honest opinion, you must voice it fearlessly. I’m a filmmaker and people have multiple opinions about my films but I can’t stop making films because of criticism.

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Ram Kamal Mukherjee named ‘Best Director’ for his short film ‘Ek Duaa’ at IWMBuzz Digital Awards

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Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Ram Kamal Mukherjee (R) whikle receiving the ‘Best Director’ trophy at IWMBuzz Digital Awards ceremony in Mumbai

Filmmaker Ram Kamal Mukherjee won the ‘Best Director’ award for his short film ‘Ek Duaa’ at the recently held IWMBuzz Digital Awards ceremony at Taj Lands End in Mumbai. The film is produced by Esha Deol Takhtani and Assorted Motion Pictures. Apart from winning the award, it was a special occasion for Mukherjee as two other films he directed also got recognized.

Esha won the ‘Best Actress’ award in the popular categories for her critically acclaimed performance in ‘Ek Duaa.’ After accepting the award, Esha said: “This film is extremely special for me, because I turned producer with this film and I would like to give entire credit to captain of the ship Ram Kamal Mukherjee for bringing such a wonderful subject to me.”

Avinash Dwivedi won the ‘Most Promising Debut’ award for his acclaimed performance in ‘Rickshawala,’ a film directed by Mukherjee. Avinash, who was accompanied by his wife and actor Sambhavna Seth, said: “This is beyond my expectation that today I am getting this recognition as an actor amidst all Bollywood celebrities for my role in Ram Kamal sir’s film Rickshawala. To get honoured for a regional cinema amidst such Bollywood biggie reinforced my faith in good content.”

Gurmeet Choudhary won the ‘Most Popular Actor’ award for his performance in Mukherjee’s film ‘Shubho Bijoya.’ Choudhary said: “Ram Kamal is an amazing story teller. When he narrated this story to me and Debina, we knew that this film will click instantly. I am honoured to receive this award, though the competition was really tough. I thank my fans and jury members who voted for me.”

Other winners at the award ceremony included Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Rakul Preet, Raveena Tandon, Huma Qureshi, Dino Morea, Sikander Kher, Sonu Sood, Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Manish Paul and other popular names from the Hindi film industry.

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JUST MARRIED! Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt tie the knot | Check pictures

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Radhika Dhawad | Mumbai

The much awaited Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt wedding fans had been eagerly waiting for finally got solemnised today afternoon in the presence of close friends and family members at Ranbir’s residence ‘Vastu’ in Mumbai. Check out some pictures of the same…

Alia took to her social media to write, “Today, surrounded by our family and friends, at home … in our favourite spot – the balcony we’ve spent the last 5 years of our relationship – we got married.

With so much already behind us, we can’t wait to build more memories together … memories that are full of love, laughter, comfortable silences, movie nights, silly fights, wine delights and Chinese bites.
Thank you for all the love and light during this very momentous time in our lives. It has made this moment all the more special.
Love,
Ranbir and Alia ✨♥️”

Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt

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Bollywood

The Kashmir Files should be declared tax-free in Maharashtra, says BJP spokesperson Rajeev Panday

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Radhika Dhawad | Mumbai

 

BJP spokesperson for Maharashtra Rajeev Panday, while speaking to Nation Next, said the controversial movie ‘The Kashmir Files,’ which grossed over ₹240 crore in India, should be made tax-free in the state. 

 

Panday told Nation Next, “The movie has managed to depict, if not all, the brutalities on Kashmiri Pandits. It is a bold representation of truth. Kashmiri Pandit community was forced to leave their own homes in the country. Imagine their plight! Maharashtra government should make it tax-free in their state like the BJP did.”

 

The movie, which is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 1990s, has been made tax-free in at least BJP-run eight states namely Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Goa, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had also received requests asking him to exempt the film from entertainment tax in the state.

A lawyer and an actor, Rajeev Panday was appointed as the spokesperson for BJP in Maharashtra in 2017. Besides practicing in The Supreme Court of India and Bombay High Court for around 15 years, Panday has also been a name to reckon with in the entertainment industry.

 

 

 

Rajeev Panday

 

Rajeev Panday

 

 
Panday, who’s acted in Bollywood grocers like Amitabh Bachchan’s starrer Pink and John Abraham’s starrer Madras Cafe, has given many terrific performances on stage. He started doing theatre in 1998 with famous theatre group Act One in Delhi. After shifting his base to Mumbai (in 2003) to practice law, Panday continued to dabble in theatre and films. His recent performances at Ibsen Festival at Prithvi Theatre were appreciated well by the audience and critics alike.
 

 

A law graduate from Delhi University’s Campus Law Centre, Panday has also been actively involved in legal activism. Through his Public Interest Litigations, Panday has raised many pertinent issues like regulation of television content and charitable hospitals not providing free treatment to the poor people.

 

In his longstanding association with the BJP, Panday has served the party as the convenor of its Mumbai Human Rights cell and the convenor of the Election Cell of its Maharashtra unit.

 

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