Digital entertainment challenging Bollywood storytelling: Ahluwalia

Mumbai, July 6 (IANS) National Award winning filmmaker Ashim Ahluwalia, who has directed “Daddy”, says the younger generation has huge expectations from mainstream Bollywood as they are exposed to the world of entertainment through the internet. He feels not many filmmakers are catering to the segment with good content.

Known for setting his journey differently from commercial Hindi cinema, Ahluwalia has collaborated with actor Arjun Rampal for the gangster drama “Daddy”. He says the time is changing.

“Five years ago, nobody would have thought of making a film about an air hostess and plane hijacking (referring to the film ‘Neerja’) in an absolute commercial space and making box office business. But thanks to digital entertainment, it is challenging Bollywood storytelling for better.”

“Now the new, tech-savvy generation has huge expectations from our cinema as they compare the films with a Netflix show, a Korean or an Iranian film because they have the access to it,” Ahluwalia told IANS in an interview here.

“The earlier generation had quite a low expectation where they would go to the theatre every Friday, watch same stories, but now that the standard of the audience has gone high, because they know what is out there in the world, it is time to experiment with the story, forms and style. And frankly, a lot of people are not delivering all that,” Ahluwalia said.

Having won a National Award for his 2005 documentary “John & Jane”, which had premiered at film fests in Toronto and Berlin, Ahluwalia’s first feature film “Miss Lovely” not only won a Special Jury (Feature Film) honour at the National Film Awards, but was also lauded for the Best Production Design in 2014.

Asked why mainstream Bollywood does not interest him as a filmmaker, he said: “My working style is different. I want my actor to immerse in the world of the story that I create so that they come out as a character. I improvise a lot on set.”

“I assemble a different energy to create one story. In ‘Daddy’, a French-Canadian cinematographer is narrating the life story of an Indian gangster. There is a different level of passion, they are (the unit) not coming for a job, they are working out of passion.”

But isn’t filmmaking a business where huge finance is involved?

“Well, I make ad films… That’s my business and trust me, I am well-behaved there (laughs). No, seriously, when somebody comes to me to shoot any ad-commercial, I will shoot them all as per the requirement and exit. But film is the space where I experiment… That’s my room of creative expression.”

His new film “Daddy” derives from the real life story of gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli of Mumbai. A look into the trailer can tell the “difference” that Ahluwalia has to offer in terms of the look and feel of a film.

“Daddy” is releasing on July 21.

(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at arundhuti.b@ians.in)

–IANS

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