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Can't blame audiences for changing interests, says Anurag Basu

The filmmaker also rued the fact that classical forms of song and dance are vanishing from the country's entertainment industry.


The Indian audience should not be blamed for being more receptive to Hollywood films and Western TV shows unless content makers in the country's entertainment industry begin to experiment with new concepts, says filmmaker Anurag Basu.

As a director, Basu's credentials include films of different genres like Murder (2004), Gangster (2006), Life In A... Metro (2007) and Barfi! (2012). He has also dabbled in differentiated content on the small screen with a show like Love Story. "You can't blame the audience for being receptive of the West – their films and TV shows – until you try to experiment with new things and show these to them," he said.

Basu believes that not all Hindi films need to have song-and-dance sequences to be successful. He says, however, that it is important for some to include classical forms of song and dance for these to be sustained.

Basu, who will don the judge's hat for the upcoming Sony Entertainment Television show Super Dancer, told IANS: "I have been making films for a long time and there was no dance in any of my films. Still, they have done well. There are people who like watching dance in films, but there are many who don't consider it real."

Discussing the dance forms promoted in Indian films and TV shows, the 42-year-old said that while "Bollywood as a dance form has got recognition around the world, somehow we ourselves are neglecting our classical dance forms".

"That has gone out of the context. Once upon a time there was Saroj Khan, who used to add Kathak or some other classical dance in her choreography for film songs. That era has ended," he rued.

Basu believes that becoming a director in mainstream Hindi cinema is a "very far-fetched" idea for most. "I come from a middle-class family and so before turning director, I wanted to secure my academic career, because if I hadn't got work in Bollywood, at least I had the chance of working somewhere else.

"If you talk about me, post-college also I didn't know that I wanted to become a director. I got clarity of mind after completing my graduation."

Despite spending over two decades in showbiz, Basu says he is not a brand yet. "People are still more keen about actors than directors," he said, adding that only a few filmmakers like Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Karan Johar have established themselves as brands. "People come to see their films more than for the actors. For me it will take two-three films more to get to that position," the Kites (2010) director said.

While Basu has been missing from the limelight since the release of Barfi! (2012), he says he always wanted to take a break. "It was my personal thing to take a break. I earned money through Barfi!. So I thought it's better for me to take a break. Before that, I had always been running after a bank balance, movies and other things. Barfi! gave me a little elbow space to relax in life for the first time since I became part of this industry.

Basu's next film is Jagga Jasoos, starring Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor. It will release on 7 April next year. After that, he will work on a musical.