Free Press Journal

Our films are becoming real; so are the women” 


Films are a reflection of society and the new age woman has influenced cinema in a big way, believes TIGMANSHU DHULIA. In a candid chat with VIRAJ SAWANT, he tells us why we should be welcoming this wholeheartedly.

There was once a golden age for actresses in the past but it was succeeded by a low. She was either a vamp or a damsel in distress. Even though the poster called her the heroine, she never really played an important part in the plot. Then came a time when the leading ladies of Bollywood opted for item numbers instead of full-fledged roles. Today, the times have changed again. There are films wherein the actress is in the lead while the actor often plays a minor role in the film. A Deepika Padukone steals the show while sharing screen space with Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan. A Kangana Ranaut takes centrestage and proves that women have changed and are ready to take over the world.

An artiste who learnt acting but then realised it wasn’t his cup of tea, Tigmanshu Dhulia went on to direct films like HAASIL, SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER and PAAN SINGH TOMAR. He then played the infamous Ramadhir Singh in Anurag Kashyap’s GANGS OF WASSEYPUR which revived the actor in him and he also signed a few more like HEROand MANJHI THE MOUNTAIN MAN.

Applauding the directors and filmmakers who are triggering in Bollywood, Dhulia welcomes this long overdue metamorphosis. “This whole change is very welcoming. I admire these writers and directors who are making this change happen. There is ofcourse a lot of scope for more. This is just the beginning. It’s a very refreshing change and we, as an industry, should welcome this improvement.

“I think the contribution of women in society has also gone up. Since women are contributing so much to society, their portrayal has also changed. They are shown to be stronger and more independent. Ultimately it’s a reflection of society. Earlier we used to see a lot more filmier version of characters. Actresses would only sing songs and cry. Things are now much better.

“Realism has seeped into commercial films as well. People are not being poetic while delivering lines. They look at each other, they think and speak. The issues are very real. In a film like PIKU, the issues, problems and everything shown in the film are so real. There is no huge plot point. Since our films are becoming real, so are the women.

“There definitely is a lot of scope for improvement as far as films in totality are concerned. So with women characters also, we tend to make them filmi. We tend to take the reference point for these characters from films instead of real life. You have seen exceptional films which portray female characters more realistically and the conclusion is also real. Such films are still exceptions.

“Things in the film industry are very different compared to what it was till a few years back. Actresses are calling the shots. Kangana (Ranaut) and Deepika (Padukone) just proved it that women-centric films are no longer a risky business. They are exceptional actors and they can stand shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. PIKU and TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS were really good films. So I definitely don’t think producers would worry if it’s a woman- centric film like before.

“MOTHER INDIA, in my opinion, is an inspiring film. It portrays the strife of a mother who raises two kids in complete adverse situations in a village. In spite of that she holds on to her values and she imbibes great values in her sons. She protects the pride of the village by sacrificing her own son. That definitely makes it a great story.

“My mother was a working woman, she was a professor. She taught Sanskrit to students. The thing about Sanskrit is that, it brings along traditions and Indian values. A huge part of me and my personality comes from my mother.

“The character that Mahie (Gill) played in SAHEB BIWI AUR GANGSTER was my interpretation of the woman of today and how she would react to a situation, from the 1962 film SAHIB BIBI AUR GHULAM. I saw the character of ChotiBahu in today’s perspective. She had a very strong character. A decision-maker and a non-submissive woman, she is much like the woman of today. It was my take on how a character like Mahie’s would react to a situation today. She’ll be like, ‘Aisikitaisi’ and she’ll look for a new guy.

“As for my next films, there is YAARA which I just finished; the post production is going on as of now. YAARA is the journey of four friends from the age of four till they enter their 50s. From 1960 to 2000, you see all the changes from fashion to politics and much more in society as well, in the film.I’ll be starting with MILAN TALKIES and then a documentary film on Subhash Chandra Bose.”