Saturday, May 24, 2014

Successful Repetition – Yash Chopra Style

We love Bollywood. We love our actors and directors. We indulge them, criticize them but still love them. One of the points that I repeatedly hear is that our people are not experimental enough.

Creative people are expected to experiment with their styles and try to be different. Repetition is a big no no for creative people and SRK is flogged for repeating himself in his movies. But apart from theory, is this really true in real life?

Not exactly. Look at the life and works of Mr Yash Chopra – undoubtedly one of the most successful and creative brains of Bollywood who single headedly built one of the most successful production houses in India. Most of the movies that he directed had the same theme – one hero and two heroines – with slight variations in the plot. I am in no way questioning the creative genius or the talent of the man – the point here is that if something is successful then one should not tinker too much with it.

Movie Name
Year of Release
Main Cast
Mala Sinha, Shashi Kapoor, Ashok Kumar
Sharmila Tagore, Rajesh Khanna, Raakhee
Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Raakhee, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh
Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Shashi Kapoor
Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Raakhee, Parveen Babi
Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Rekha
Sunil Dutt, Rekha, Farooq Sheikh, Deepti Naval
Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini, Rishi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Meenakshi Sheshadri
Sridevi, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna
Sridevi, Anil Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman
Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sunil Dutt, Vinod Khanna
Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Karishma Kapoor
Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukherjee
Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma

Other directors have also done well to stick to their genre – Karan Johar to Romance, David Dhawan to comedy, Rohit Shetty to comedy/action, Farha Khan to light hearted movies, Raju Hirani to light movies with a social message – maybe it helps for the audience to be aware of what to expect when they go and see a movie by a particular house or director. Same is true for heroes and some supporting actors as well, what we call their “signature styles” Even sportsmen have their signature styles.

Typecast may be a point of criticism but it definitely leads you to success. If you are very successful it also inspires duplicates to copy you. Repetition is only looked down upon in the creative field, in other fields it adds to your experience – the more surgeries a surgeon performs the better he gets at it – no one asks them – so you are a good heart surgeon, but how many knee replacements have you done? No one asks Zakir Hussian – so you play the tabla well but why havent you tried the flute? Then why the obsession to see our actors and directors play different roles all the time? I haven’t found the answer yet – maybe the readers can.

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