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June 29, 2013
Whether it's playing housie with housewives or spooking journos with fake ghosts, the Bollywood hype machine is in top gear.
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A little village in Bihar has zero cases of dowry deaths and female infanticide. Why? Because of mango trees.
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'Satire is a great genre for venting'
What sparked off the storyline of PGRO was a random exchange between producer Ashok Pandey, his wife Pragati and director Subhash Kapoor. Pragati, also an actor, was telling Subhash that she was planning a trip to Etawah. Kapoor's reaction was: 'Aap toh wahan kidnap ho jayengi (you will get kidnapped). ' The film was a risky venture but exciting enough for the team to see it through, says Kapoor
Why did you mix the themes of recession and corruption in the film?
PGRO emerged from my anger and frustration. I was told by producers in 2008 that recession had changed the dynamics of the industry. I felt terrible that we were suffering for a situation that the US had created. It angered me that even the bailouts were being splurged on luxuries. For me, PGRO is a very political film that deals with a lot of issues in several layers, some of which some viewers have been able to catch on to, and some not.
To what do you attribute the audience response to the film?
Despite the tall claims made by the ruling elite, the fact remains that the common man doesn't have avenues and platforms to express his feelings. When he sees a PGRO or a Peepli Live, he enjoys the way the system is ridiculed. After all, the establishment gets away with ignoring his grievances.
Are censorship issues not there anymore?
The censors have definitely changed, but there is no doubt that censorship remains a debatable issue in our society. What is important to note is that they did not change one fine morning because they felt like it, but because there was constant pressure from creative people and audiences to ease up.
Why is Bollywood wary of satire?
I think the problem is that the script is not considered important enough. It comes after the hero-heroine, the director, the costume designer, the music director, the location...Otherwise in a country that has produced satirists like Srilal Shukla and Harishankar Parsai, satire should be an important narrative style in films.
Do you see more satires coming out of Mumbai?
I think this trend is here to stay, more importantly because it has worked at the box office. That in many ways, unfortunately, is a benchmark to decide what's good and what's not.
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