By RAHUL RAUT
Filmmaker Karan Johar who is backing Sidharth Malhotra, Sonakshi Sinha and Akshaye Khanna starrer ‘Ittefaq’ along with Shah Rukh Khan, says the habit of blending music and having an interval in films are the reasons thriller genre hasn’t been tapped much in Bollywood. In an interview with Bombay Times, Karan also said that Indian filmmakers don’t adapt the real format of a thriller and make it like just another mainstream film.
Answering the question about what deters filmmakers in Bollywood from exploring the thriller genre more, Karan said: “It’s because of the way we tell our stories and the fact that what we make is mainstream entertainment. We are used to integrating song and dance sequences to our stories. A thriller is supposed to be pacy and keep the audience on the edge of their seat. We like blending music because that’s our viewing habit. We make fewer thrillers because we don’t conform to the real format of a thriller. We even have an interval. In fact, when Abhay Chopra, the director, wrote the film, he didn’t write it with an interval. I asked where are we going to break for an interval? We like to escalate the film and then stop, and then we have to re-escalate the film from that point. That’s why a lot of our films suffer from the second-half phenomena. Eight out of 10 second halves are weak because of the interval.”
“Nobody in any teaching course around the world will account for how to handle an interval in movies. It’s only Hindi cinema that breaks the narrative and that’s another problem with the thriller genre. It was a big challenge that even we faced,” Karan added.
‘Ittefaq’ which a remake of the 1969 thriller of the same name hasn’t been promoted in media the way a Bollywood film is usually marketed. The makers have attempted “No-Promotion” strategy for this film to not spoil any mystery of this whodunit movie. Talking about the same, Karan said that they adapted this unique promotional marketing because ‘Ittefaq’ is not an event film which is celebratory in nature and claimed that this film will grow with word-of-mouth.
“I definitely think the decision we took to not promote the film dealt with some kind of anxiety through our journey. It’s not so much the ramifications of it, but the insecurity of not doing something that bothers you. If we had gone all out promoting our film, it would probably make a difference to our opening numbers, but I strongly believe that ‘Ittefaq’ is in that space where it’s a Saturday film. It is one of those films, which has the potential to start very well and then word of mouth takes it to another level. Lately, I feel that’s the trend that films have been following. Overt and excessive promotions work for event films which are celebratory in nature,” Karan said.
“‘Ittefaq’ is a whodunit movie where all we can say is that, ‘We can’t tell you anything or talk about it’. The same thing would have been said over and over again. We don’t have songs to dance to, we don’t have scenes we can discuss or plot points which can be revealed. So, what would we promote? When Shah Rukh and I discussed it, we took the call of not putting it out there. Of course, we all have to combat the fear whether people are aware of the film. We had to fight those insecurities, but I think we have done something new and we don’t know whether it’s right or wrong.”
‘Ittefaq’ releases in cinemas this Friday.