New Delhi, PTI:
Renowned theatre and film director MS Sathyu believes Malayalam cinema is "the best" in India for its "great quality of work and films." Bengali cinema comes a close second while Bollywood does not even figure in his list of favourites.
"Not much is happening in Hindi cinema. We don’t have any trend-setting film these days," he says, not quite satisfied with an experimental Bollywood of these times.
"Of course, there are some good films like Maqbool and Iqbal, but the bulk of the Hindi cinema is bad! Technically, the films are much better than before. The directors are efficient too but the content is so poor," he rues.
Resultantly, argues Sathyu, there are no startling performances from the actors also.
"Look at Rani Mukherjee. She is a talented actress. She was good in ‘Black’. She got an opportunity to show her potential. But she had to do so many useless films before ‘Black’. Preity Zinta is also capable of superior acting but she’s always given the same kind of roles in her films," he says.
Interestingly, Sathyu who is often accused of working only with a particular set of actors is not "averse" to directing the big commercial stars of Hindi cinema.
"I would like to work with Amitabh Bachchan but he’s too big. Also I don’t have a role for him," he says non-chalantly.
"I would like to work with these big stars. Some actors are very talented but they don’t have time. They are so busy and don’t have dates for me. My subject and I can’t wait for anyone. But yes, there are some bad actors in Hindi cinema and I would definitely like to avoid them," he says with a mischievous smile.
Sathyu whose directorial venture ‘Garam Hawa’ (1973) — that chronicles the plight of Muslims during partition — is one of the classics of the Indian cinema that catapulted him into the league of "thinking directors".
"It happens once in the lifetime of every director. Once in your life, you make that one film that makes you so successful and acclaimed. You are at the peak. This peak comes only once during your entire career. For some, this peak comes right in the beginning of their career, like for me. But for some it comes rather late, like for Satyajit Ray who made ‘Pather Panchali’ at almost the twilight of his career," he elaborates.
"You can’t repeat certain things. Look at Ramesh Sippy.
He made a great film called ‘Sholay’. But could he ever replicate the success of Sholay in his entire career," he continues.
Sathyu who is an equally big name in the world of theatre and who was on the jury of the Mahindra Theatre Excellence Awards held recently believes theatre should be introduced for students right at the university level.
"Theatre is a face-to-face medium. There are no barriers between an actor and audience. But in the absence of any strong cultural policy of the country, all theatre, be it in Hindi, Emglish or any other language, is lying neglected.
Theatre is being suffocated here," he says.
"In Bangalore and Mumbai, the theatrical scene is still good. In Kolkata also, the picture is encouraging. In other cities, however, theatre is yet to develop," says Sathyu who reasons that emerging theatre artists are "more promising" than the established ones as the latter have "restricted themselves".
Sathyu who is lately keeping himself "busy" with his theatre productions in Bangalore and Mumbai, is planning two films this year.
One is a "historical film" on Dara Shikoh – a familiar subject for him as he did a play on the same sometime ago and ‘Neecha Aasmaan’, where Bengali actress Rituparna Sengupta will be seen in the main lead.
e it in Hindi, Emglish or any other language, is lying neglected.
Theatre is being suffocated