At the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the filmmaker sat down for a candid chat with the audience and spoke about his beginnings in cinema and the influences that shaped the films he made over a span of three decades.
Lots of stupidity, lots of blunders and survived 40 years, says filmmaker Priyadarshan on his career
Panjim - 26 Nov 2019 12:00 IST
Updated : 14:30 IST
A masterclass titled 'Master of Multiple Genres' is truly the best way to describe the oeuvre of the versatile filmmaker, Priyadarshan. Although largely known to the Hindi-speaking audience for his rib-tickling situational comedies like Hera Pheri (2000), Hungama (2003), Malamaal Weekly (2006), Bhagam Bhag (2006), and Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), the veteran filmmaker has made some exceptional films in Malayalam, mostly with superstar Mohanlal.
At the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the filmmaker sat down for a candid chat with the audience and later spoke about his beginnings in cinema and the influences that shaped the films he made over a span of three decades. The session began after the screening of his film Sila Samayangalil (2018), which delves into the pertinent issue of HIV disease.
He began by saying, “I am known for my stupid comedies and I purposely told them [the festival organisers] to show this film [Sila Samayangalil] because occasionally I make a film like this and Kanchivaram (2009) to test myself, how good I am.”
In making the comedy films that he is famous for, Priyadarshan said that he was very clear about his audience for his films, “I tell them that keep your brains at home and come and watch my movies,” adding that he believed in the form of situational comedies.
Speaking about his influences, the filmmaker delved into the genesis of the word ‘slapstick’ and the beginnings of the genre through the work of Charlie Chaplin. He counted filmmakers David Lean, MT Vasudevan, Satyajit Ray as some of his influences, along with Malayalam filmmakers Bharathan and Bharathiraja saying, “I believe that we can learn cinema by watching cinema.”
In this context, he spoke about his own beginnings as a writer, where he would keenly watch what directors did on set and frankly said, “I improved my cinema by putting technicians who were better than me and learnt from them. That was a much better way to learn cinema.”
Priyadarshan stressed upon the importance of a solid story for a film saying, “Cinema is about a way of storytelling. I believe a good film is something that is told well. It can be any subject but it’s how you narrate it that matters.”
Responding to queries from the audience about his career in Hindi films, the filmmaker plainly said, “I stopped making comedies in Malayalam films and went to Hindi films for glitz, glamour and money. I went only for entertainment to Bollywood [Hindi cinema]. I don’t want to do any experiments in Hindi films.”
He traced some of the ups and downs that he faced during his prolific career and commented, "Lots of stupidity, lots of blunders and survived 40 years," drawing enthusiastic applause from the audience.
It was indeed refreshing for a masterclass to hold such key insights about a filmmaker's wide-ranging career and the audience responded with eagerness and awe. Priyadarshan has remained a master filmmaker who maintained a loyal audience with his superhit films, and won over their hearts with his remarkable candour and humility.