Mrunal Manmay Dash

If we stick to our strength and content, a good nice story coming from our soil will always hold the interest of audience, if told well, said noted actor-director Amol Palekar during Tarang Cine Flix conclave held in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

Palekar’s wife and writer Sandhya Gokhale also joined the panel discussion which was moderated by OTV Managing Director (MD), Jagi Mangat Panda.

When asked about the commercial perspective of regional cinemas, Palekar said, “I think we have forgotten the basic purpose of storytelling. We have been made to believe that big stars, fantastic locations, item songs, fight sequences; these are the elements which are essential for a story. The young generation in particular has been made to believe that commercial success is the only yardstick to measure a cinema. That is one way the mainstream cinema has been selling us their stories. There are so many other things the youths do not bother to look into that. This is how they have been brainwashed.”

However, OTT platforms have opened up newer avenues. It shows how a good content can still hold and make you interested in a small story. If you compare that with what we are making in regional cinema, then you will not get into that trap, Palekar said.

Speaking about the south Indian blockbuster movies, Palekar said, “Though I am not a person to talk about blockbusters because I never believed in making any of that, if we stick to our strength and content, a good nice story coming from your soil will always hold the interest of the audience if told well.”

According to Palekar, South Indian cinema has always had its own presence instead of competing on the commercial yardstick. Superstars like Kamal Haasan, Sridevi and even Rajinikanth were introduced by K. Balachander and he made very beautiful, sensitive films on a limited budget.

On the topic of challenges the regional cinema is facing on the business front, Palekar said, “Along with the growth, I am not denying the commercial aspect of the regional cinema. And we should not fall prey to the returns from a film. If we spend Rs 2 crore in a film and get a return of Rs 10 crore, then it is a good enough profit. But we are made to believe that the movie is a flop if it returned only Rs 10 crore.”

Giving the example of Hindi movie, Paan Singh Tomar, Palekar said, the movie was made with a budget of just Rs 8 crore and it did a business of 35 crore, more than four times of the investment. But the movie was dubbed a failure.

“We only talk about movies made with Rs 300 crore budget which give a return of Rs 700 crore. We should not fall prey to such a narrative. We should talk about films made with good content and whether we are able to take that content to the people. If the people liked it, that's how it should be,” he concluded.