Director Prakash Jha is known for making great films like Gangaajal, Raajneeti, Mrityudand and Apaharan, which have always touched upon pertinent social issues while displaying a strong moral fibre, with protagonists standing against all odds for the sake of justice. So, when we recently conducted an exclusive interview with the National-Award-winning filmmaker for his upcoming web series, Aashram, starring Bobby Deol, it was inevitable that we digressed a bit and asked him how he felt about Bollywood being accused of behaving unjustly with outsiders and creating a movie mafia that works against them.
Not mincing his words, like's he's wont to, Prakash Jha said, “I'm yet to understand this because, really speaking, I have had a few years in this industry, and I can say with some kind of honesty and some kind of integrity that I have never faced this sort of thing. I knows actors, whether it is Nawazuddin Siddiqui or Manoj Bajpayee, they may have taken a few years of extra struggle, but eventually, if you are a star kid, you may get one picture or you may get two pictures, you can go so far and no more unless and until you connect with people, performed and proved your mettle. So, to make general comment about all this is...I don't know...like somebody was interviewing me and asked me about our "movie mafia" and I wondered where is this movie mafia? Please text me the address of this mafia, I'll go and meet them.”
Making sense of why Bollywood is being targeted the filmmaker added, “People are unnecessarily saying all this because you know, the film world is easily visible, making it an easy target. But what about industries like politics or other fields, like is an industrialist not going to promote his son or daughter? They will do it because that's a natural tendency. But in films what happens is...there are several names that I wouldn't like to take...where they got an opportunity, but couldn't capitalise on it, and they were out. Because eventually, a Nawazuddin Siddiqui will come from a village and connect with people and he'll become a revered actor. So did Irrfan (Khan), so did Naseer (Naseeruddin Shah), so did Shah Rukh (Khan). And technicians like me who've come from Assam, Bihar, the North East, or in your field of journalism (addressing us), do you realise that 60-70% are from UP or Bihar. So, it is obnoxious to label the industry with such things. There may some occasions where some people may form a clique and sort of work within it, but who will stop a talent, who can?”
Opening up on the accusations being thrown around that Sushant Singh Rajput was ostracised, Prakash Jha elaborated, “Poor Sushant...I'm so sad that such a bright actor, such a bright human being had to lose his life and it's good that the CBI is investigating it now. But think about it, the guy was doing such good work. I would've loved to work with him, unfortunately, I never had an opportunity to meet him. Maybe there are certain offers where he was kind of like pushed out, I don't know, but that happens all the time. You can't make that as a general rule and some people who are trying to make a big thing out of it, it's obnoxious, I don't feel it's right. This is a part of this life. When you come to Mumbai to prove yourself in the film industry, be prepared to strive and work very hard and to take rejection as many times as it happens because eventually, when you'll get accepted, you shine. That is the beauty of this world.”
Now that's what we call an extremely balanced perspective from both sides of the table.
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