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Guru Dutt began his journey as a choregrapher! - "Mahesh Bhat"
Nirmolika Sangha | Friday, 4 December 2015 AT 08:17 PM IST
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When Epic came to me with a chance to explore the history of Indian Cinema, I didn’t hesitate even for a second in saying yes,” said filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt on Tuesday when he came to Pune to promote his new show Khwaabon ka Safar with Mahesh Bhatt, on the Epic Channel. The show, which has already gone on air, explores the stories and journeys of Bollywood’s most iconic film studios and the personalities behind them including R K Studio, Rajkamal Studio, Prabhat Studio, Filmistan Studio, Guru Dutt films, amongst others.

“These icons of the industry started off without a map or a compass, just driven by their passions,” said the filmmaker while interacting with the media. Also present at the event was Madhura Jasraj, daughter of filmmaker V Shantaram, who was the founder of Prabhat Studio in Pune and later went on to start Rajkamal Studio.
Excerpts from an interview with Bhatt...

During the press conference, you mentioned that you learnt a lot of things while hosting this show. Could you share a few discoveries?
I did not know that Guru Dutt originally began his journey as a choreographer. He learnt dance with Uday Shankar and he did not make it into the industry as a director, but as a dance master. I didn’t know that Shantaramji’s father was supplying Petromaxes to this moving theatre activity. Then they came to Kolhapur and from there to Pune and Mumbai. I didn’t know the origins of these people. I didn’t know that S Mukherjee was such a big man, he subsequently made Filmalaya. So these are the things that I got to know more closely.

There has been a debate about the content on Indian television. Do you think there is a need for improvement in that?
There are two streams, one catering to the immediate marketing demands of what is called dumb down entertainment; to an amusement-seeking audience which wants just carpet like wall-to-wall entertainment. But there is a demand also, in a tired polity, for meaningful content on TV. Every time I put on a TV, I don’t want to be amused, I want to be informed. So there are certain channels which have started catering to that, and I think Epic is that very brave channel which has the intelligence to understand this need. There is a kind of cynical attitude that everybody wants only silly entertainment, which may be true but it’s also true that when you have gone out of your way and given something meaningful, the audience has lapped it up. I think based on this belief, they have created this channel which is why the content on this channel is remarkably different from other channels.

You wrote the concept for the show Dil Ki Baatein Dil Hi Jane, featuring Ram Kapoor. The show went off air very soon. What do you think went wrong?
It was too grim a subject for people to tune in to and confront in their drawing rooms at the end of the day. The finality of death, the death of your near and dear ones, euthanasia and the right to die in dignity are all issues people grapple with but they keep them tucked away in the remotest corner of their minds. So what doesn’t find centre stage in your own life, how can you give it centre stage in the entertainment world? That’s the reason the show failed.

After Khwaabon ka Safar, are there any plans for a second season?
I don’t know, it depends on the ability of the content creators of the Epic Channel to give continuity to this desire in the audience to get a meaningful insight into the journey of the Indian entertainment industry. If it’s done in an engaging way, it can become an important stream.

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