David Dhawan, one of the longest-lasting directors of our cinema is fond of saying he has survived for so long because he is constantly learning and imbibing the needs tastes and requirements of oncoming generations.Stagnancy is death for a creative artiste. Here are some directors who seriously need to reinvent themselves.
Madhur Bhandarkar: He made a disastrous start with a formulistic farce called Trishakti. He found his métier with Chandni Bar and went on to re-write the language of commercial Hindi cinema for an adult audience with Page 3 and Fashion. But then Bhandarkar got stuck in a single groove. He made Corporate, which showed us that the formula of drawing inspiration from real life can only last for so long. Heroine was nothing but Fashion relocated from the modeling to the movie world. And his attempt to do a sex comedy in Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Jee felt flat and fell flat. Madhur's next is Calendar Girls which apparently would have "12 hot newcomers" telling their story of exploitation and redemption. Errrr...Fashion 3?
Prakash Jha: Once was the wizard of raj-tantra. What went wrong? After giving political cinema in India commercial sanction in Gangajal, Apaharan and Raajneeti Prakash has to his discredit three films that were expected to be game changers.Alas, Aarakshan, Chakravyuha and Satyagraha were bitterly disappointing. Prakash is now writing a gritty cops drama, hopefully without his signature stamp of mobs rushing for revenge and fleets of government cars speeding down at rush-hour . The Ambassador car is dead. So are the governmental conclaves on the roads. Reinvention needed
Ram Gopal Varma: He changed the face of horror and gangsterism in Indian cinema with Raat and Satya.And then his horror films became horrific in unexpected way and the underworld films began to threaten all aesthetic consideration. Flop after flop after flop....made no difference to Ramu. He continued to plunder the fertile fields of filmmaking that he had so confidently ploughed. Finally good sense has prevailed. Ramu has taken a break. He has gone back to his home town Hyderabad to rediscover his roots. We will wait for his recovery and return.
Sudhir Mishra: He has made 11 films. All deal with the politics and crime of the Indian middleclass. The dark brooding cynical style of storytelling has not changed over the years. Of these only 3 of Sudhir’s films have made money. His last film Inkaar about sexual harassment at work places was found to be shaky by many critics. Sudhir needs to do some soul-searching.The raw realism if his cinema needs serious upgrading.
Vishal Bharadwaj: Once Vishal made Omkara and Maqbool.. The style was stunningly original and fearless. Even Kaminey has it's critics. However his recent films show a smug over-confidence bordering on self-indulgence. This trendsetting director’s last two films Saat Khoon Maaf and Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola were damp squibs. Maybe Mishra needs to look within himself to see where the guttural storytelling needs to be updated.
Sajid Khan: Sajid’s forte was farcical laughter aimed at everyday quirks. His comedy is broad, really broad. But now it’s become stubbornly rigid and repetitive. He began his career with three major hits (Heyy Babyy, Houseful and Houseful 2) but now after Himmatwala and Humshakals, this exuberant over-confident teller of comic stories needs to know that audiences are no longer tickled by the funny-broom that he uses to sweep all logic under the table. He needs to upgrade the humour. He needs to make the audiences laugh again. He has it in him. If he has done it thrice, he can do it again.
Subhash Ghai: The Showman is now facing rejection from mass audiences. Ghai once made Hero, Saudagar and Ram Lakhan. His script sense was somewhat shaky. But what carried his tales to boxoffice glory was the towering actors and the wonderful dialogues. Now with Kissna and Kanchi he needs to work with a young dynamic team the way Yash Chopra did to remain 24 till he died.