An Open Letter To Sajid Khan

By Martin D'Souza, Glamsham Editorial

You call yourself a blockbuster director. That's what all the posters of your recent film, HIMMATWALA, scream. But I think now it is safe to say that this film is a blockbuster disaster!

What I would like to point out is how film-directors go about town, tom-tomming about their film as though it is the next GONE WITH THE WIND or MACKENNA'S GOLD, or closer home SHOLAY!

What I fail to understand is why go to extreme lengths for such obscene promotions and tall claims? Agreed, a lot of money has been pumped in, into making a blockbuster. But that does not mean adding a few more crores to the expenditure (read marketing) is going to change the fate of the film. What you have done, you have done; now let the audience decide. If they like it, they will lap it, if they don't; they are going to be livid! I mean marketing can only do so much, if you know what I mean! And no amount of in-your-face-marketing is going to change the fate of a bad film.

You can't insult audience sensibilities with crass which masquerades as genius. The lid is going to be blown off some day. You can fool some people some time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time!

It's good to have self-belief and confidence in one's abilities, but there has to be a fine line between believing and shoving your beliefs onto millions of others. What you have done with HIMMATWALA takes immense strength. For that alone, I salute you. And no, I am not being sarcastic here. It's good to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all.

But what I would like to ask is, "why not try your hand at creativity?" That is what your field is all about. Why remake or rewrite (your term) something that has already been done and dusted. Be true to your craft. If you are in the creative field meant to entertain, at least be genuine. There is not dearth of talent (read writers) around. Give these guys a chance and a fair price for their talent. Don't short-change theme. Believe me, you, and the entire industry will have fresh content and newer ideas instead of sitting with old DVDs and scratching your heads.

What also surprised me (and here I have to laud Ajay Devgn for his Himmat) is that you said that this would be his re-launch. Come again? Your poster says, "Starring superstar Ajay Devgn." Has he fallen on bad times that he needs to be re-launched? Is he a Rahul Roy or Avinash Wadhwan?

And yet you yourself say, "Superstar"!

The explosive West Indian cricketer Vivian Richards never said he would score a century in this or that match; Lionel Messi, the Argentinian soccer star, does not say I will hammer three goals tonight; nor does Sachin Tendulkar say I will tear this attack to pieces. As a performer, their job is to perform. Bouquets and brickbats are to follow later.

Scripture in Proverbs 27:2 is clear when it states: "Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips."

I am not against marketing, but whatever you can save from 'obscene marketing' [that amount] can go to bettering the lives of villagers in the interiors of Maharashtra and this country. This is not only for you, but for other production houses as well.

I would like to end by saying that it will be a real Mard who will still be watching Himmatwala. Because, jo Mard hota hai, unhe dard nahi hota!


Martin D'Souza

(This weekly column tries to be as honest as honest can be... )

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