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Real life terror acts – a new theme for Bollywood filmmakers
26th Aug 2008 09.00 IST
Quite a few Bollywood filmmakers are translating real life terrorist acts into reel to capture audience imagination with movies like Mumbai Meri Jaan , Hijack , 'Tahaan,' and 'A Wednesday' that are quite similar to recent bomb blasts or some other terrorist act in the country.
The perpetrators behind the recent Ahmedabad blasts may or may not have been distinctly influenced by the recent flick Contract , but it appears that increasingly Bollywood filmmakers are translating real life terrorist acts into reel to capture audience imagination.
'Ruslaanis' is another film that is based on the train blasts in Mumbai and is currently under production.
"Moviegoers nowadays not only watch movies but also read about the different technical angles used in the film to give it a more authentic look. Cinema is also evolving as a means of documenting events rather than just being inspired from literature," says director Anurag Kashyap .
"Earlier people used to find it difficult to believe that a real life incident can be picturised in the same manner. But now with the change in audiences' tastes the demand for such movies have increased prompting producers to encash on the trend." says Kashyap, who directed the 1993 Mumbai blasts inspired thriller, Black Friday .
While 'Mumbai Meri Jaan' deals with this subject against the backdrop of the 2006 7/11 train blasts in 2006, the plot of 'Hijack' bears striking similarity to the 1998 hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight at Kandhar, as well as the 9/11 bombings in America.
Admitting that caricature of the true story is a difficult job, Kashyap says, "Both my films 'Paanch', which is yet to be released, and 'Black Friday' were inspired from life."
But are these films also give ideas or tips to terrorists to plan and execute their horrifying intentions?
"It is a give and take relation and may or may not mutually influence each other. It is possible that terrorists have hatched their plan in Ahmedabad blasts after watching 'Contract. But ultimately it occurred due to security lapse and not cinema."
In the film 'Contract,' the main villain, makes a strategy to first setting off low-intensity explosions in crowded places, and then, when the injured reached the nearest hospital, a much bigger blast to create the impact maximum. In Ahmedabad too, quite similar plot was used to trigger the blast.
Ace cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan's 'Tahaan', which is set for September 5 release, narrates the story of a boy with a grenade.
The film has been completely shot at the Indo-Pak border village of Pahalgaam, is a story of a boy and his donkey. The boy gets separated from the animal, and then the boy makes a journey to take him back. And since it's a land of conflict, he comes through various incidents.
"The film is a fiction and does not talk about any real life incident. But yes, to some extent, it discusses about the life in Kashmir and grenade dealing was also shown as part of trade. When we were shooting, the Valley was peaceful and the condition was not as worse as it is today," says Aashish Bhatnagar, the film's producer.
It is not that taking inspiration from 'actual' events is something new for Bollywood but some Hindi films in the past have been seen either based completely on the occurrence or somehow linked to it, like 'Black Friday', Zameen , Company and Shootout At Lokhandwala , to name a few.
Film experts say that such storylines require a great deal of research in order to give the film a real look and also cross check all the facts with eye-witnesses and government officials.
"Proper research is the most vital thing before making a realistic movie. The script should be clear in the mind otherwise it will become a sort of 'Khichdi'," says Kashyap.
Film critic Taran Adarsh sums it up by saying that borrowing from real life terror is just a 'subject fascination' for producers. "With numerous terrorist attacks happening around us nobody would want to see the same on big screen too. But for some filmmakers these have become a source of inspiration. It is just a temporary phase."
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