The filmmakers who fizzled with age
Warning! This column reflects the views of the writer and the writer only! He may or may not have been in his senses so don't let that colour your judgement.
The writer shall endeavour to try and refrain from profanity and try REALLY hard from being politically incorrect. But managing both at the same time may be a tough task for him. Hence, viewer discretion is advised. But if you wanna have fun...then what the hell! Keep reading.
I saw the trailer of Roman Polanski's Carnage yesterday and it got me thinking: Do filmmakers get better, or worse, as they age?
Kinji Fukasawa was in his sixties when he made Battle Royale. He decided to shoot its sequel, knowing his cancer would accelerate and kill him if he went ahead. Eventually, his son Kenta finished the film.
George Lucas, with his clout, made three timid Star Wars prequels and produced the worst ever Indiana Jones with fellow maker and legend Steven Spielberg.
Robert Zemeckis, who captured our hearts and imagination with the Back To the Future trilogies among others, has been on a mocap (motion capture) blitz, making the horrid Moms For Mars last year, as a result of which he had to sell off his company.
So I decided to look closer home.
Image: Carnage trailer
Manoj Kumar's howlarious moment
I have seen Kranti 108 times and counting! Every time it comes on screen, I cannot help but watch the movie.
Manoj 'Bharat' Kumar made patriotism his genre and owned it with Upkaar, Roti Kapda Makaan and Kranti, among others.
Post Kranti, he went silent for six years to return with the then 'controversial' Kalyug Ki Ramayan. He ended his directorial career with Clerk, which was the launch vehicle for his son, Rishi Goswami.
This is one of the greatest howlarious moments ever on the Hindi film screen -- where a dying Ashok Kumar is revived when his son Manoj Kumar plays a desh bhakti song.
See it to believe it!
Image: A sequence from Clerk
The magicless Jaadugar
Prakash Mehra gave us the angry young man with Zanjeer. He followed it up with Amitabh Bachchan's most successful movies including Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Sharaabi, Namak Halal, etc.
When Bachchan went on his sabbatical, Mehra seemed to have lost his muse and struggled through films like Muqaddar Ka Faisla and Mohabbat Ke Dushman. When Bachchan returned, he made the absurd Jaadugar.
He then made Zindagi Ek Jua, a Scarface interpretation with the hugely popular Anil Kapoor-Madhuri Dixit jodi.
When that failed, he tried launching veteran actor Raaj Kumar's son, Puru Raaj Kumar, in Bal Bramachari.
Here's a look at the uninspiring Jaadugar.
Image: A scene from Jaadugar
Badly hit by this Toofan
When would the following seem plausible?
1. Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor simultaneously donating blood to Nirupa Roy.
2. Dara Singh using a rope to hold back a plane that is trying to take off.
Both, if you were watching a Manmohan Desai film. Desai was the baap of the multi-starrer entertainers. They ran on their own special brand of logic that was eagerly lapped by the ticket buying public.
Be it the lost and found theme, or any other popular Bollywood formula, and Desai's written the filmi Bible for it.
Yet, when he ended his career as a director, it was with Ganga Jamuna Saraswati, a film whose every scene and every dialogue had become cinematic cliche by the time it released.
If that wasn't enough, there is also Toofan (click here to see a clip) which he produced with his son Ketan Desai as director.
Have a look.
Image: A scene from Ganga Jamuna Saraswati
Main (Nahi) Tere Liye
Guide! Teesri Manzil! Johnny Mera Naam! Jewel Thief! All crown jewels in the filmography of the cinematic genius, Vijay Anand.
His films are veritable lessons in filmmaking to date -- be it editing, shot composition, setting up a scene or the shooting of songs.
But do you know his last film?
Main Tere Liye, a film made to kickstart the dead-on-arrival career of Dev Anand's son, Suniel, who had Anand Aur Anand and Car Thief behind him.
Neither the film, nor Suniel Anand, tasted success.
Image: A scene from Main Tere Liye
Brilliant before he became a factory
Mahesh Bhatt has the most inconsistent filmography.
He made us fall in love with him after Arth and Saaransh. He resurrected Sanjay Dutt as an actor with Naam and the underrated Kabzaa.
He would keep springing surprises like Daddy, or make a movie around a hit album like Aashiqui. Then followed a decade that saw Bhatt became a factory. This continued till he finally quit as a director and chose, instead, to mentor new directors.
Today, the hit-making factory continues unabated.
Towards the end, between 1994-1999, Bhatt had 18 releases as director.
He had started a film called Mr Aashiq, which had outstanding songs. But the film was never made. So he directed Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan with Saif Ali Khan and Deepak Tijori, using the same songs.
Here's a glimpse.
Image: A scene from Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan
No longer the king
Subhash Ghai was Bollywood's self-crowned showman.
With nine back-to-back hits -- and two at the beginning of his career -- he could seemingly do no wrong.
Taal was a weak film, but it had one of the best soundtracks ever. Post-Taal, though, Ghai's weakness in trying to recreate his self-created filmmaking Bible started to show.
When Yaadein and Kisna failed him, he tried to change with the times. The result was Black and White but he drew short with this one as well.
Ghai went back to the star system with a vengeance -- vide Yuvraaj.
Image: A scene from Yuvraaj
The Aag that burnt us all
I know I am not alone in saying this, but I swore by Ram Gopal Varma. Till the films that followed Company and Bhoot, that is.
Seventeen films later, everyone has stopped chanting and started wondering when we will get our favourite filmmaker back.
Not that he cares.
He is too busy destroying everything he has built and loves -- remaking Shiva as James, Sholay as his Aag and trying to recreate the Rangeela song again.
Despite the jokes and the heartbreak, I'm still holding a candle for this man mostly because he cares a damn!
Image: A scene from James