When Tragedy Sells Better Than Joy
By A Sharadhaa | Express Features | Published: 04th December 2013 07:54 AM |
The stories of real-life tragedy queens have always charmed filmmakers into making films based on them. Naturally, these generate a lot of hype in film circles and also stir up strong emotions among the audiences. The heady mix of realism and sensationalism, detailing the rise and fall of an actress works at the box-office too, whether or not the film is truly interesting.
Not all actresses, who have done well and were famous, have been immortalised on the big screen. It’s often those with a dramatic life and among them mostly those who have passed away.
Like The Dirty Picture that was based on the life of actress Silk Smitha - a 1980s southern star - and Mahesh Bhatt’s Lamhe that depicted Parveen Babi’s troubled life. There is a strong buzz that Karan Razdan is planning to make a film on legendary actress Meena Kumari with Huma Qureshi being considered for the titular role. We also hear that a Bollywood director has been inspired by Jiah Khan’s life and plans to capture it in a film to be titled Bold Bollywood and will feature Hazel Keech and Shweta Bharadwaj.
Sandalwood has its share of tragedy queens too in the likes of Kalpana and Manjula. And like in Bollywood, filmmakers here are also attempting to present the dark side of the glam world. While Trishul succeeded with a film like Silk - Sakkath Hot Maga, showcasing Veena Malik as Silk Smitha, we will soon see another film titled Abhinetri starring Pooja Gandhi that profiles the life of yesteryear actress Kalpana. Pooja is currently trying to train herself in how Kalpana carried herself. “How she sat, stood, slept and thought,” says Pooja, adding, “Not everything in a movie completely mirrors the real life story of any actress, living or dead. Some parts are fictional. A film mostly depends on factors like plot, actors, direction, music, screenplay and more. There are so many things that happen in a heroine’s life. Our director, Ravi Pradhan and I have taken a slice out of the life one such actress.”
Director Sumana Kittur, who is an expert in crime thrillers based on real-life incidents, says, “People are more familiar with the on-screen image of people like Kalpana and Manjula. I only recently got to know that Manjula was quite a bold person and always cheerful. When she committed suicide, I was keen to know how she was in real life. As a director, if I am interested to know of the heroine’s life, then it is understood that common people will have the same curiosity.” She adds, “How they died is not the question here. It is only about reasons leading to the death. Today most would like to know more about Meena Kumari; they are not that interested in Waheeda Rahman, who is as famous as the former. Similarly, people are curious to know about Kalpana and Manjula but not about Jayanthi or Aarthi. Tragedy and sacrifices always bring in a lot of curiosity.”
Director Shashank adds, “Movies based on tragedy queens create a buzz in the market. Audiences are familiar with stars like Jiah Khan, Kalpana and Silk Smitha through their movies and there is already a feeling of sympathy towards an actress who is dead. Later, people turn curious about hidden facts. That’s when the how, why and who comes up. Forget about heroines, we have a director who has come forward to pay ` 5 crore as royalty to Aarushi’s parents to make a film about her. We also have another film Ring Road Shubha, coming up in Kannada, that is based on Shubha, the lawyer who killed her fiance. These are the best examples that ‘tragedies’ are a winning formula over ‘joy’ on-screen.”