Bollywood as an industry has grown and developed drastically throughout its past 100 years. It is gradually moving away from cliches and exploring new things and sometimes bringing back the old trends. As Indian cinema celebrates its century, director Nikhil Advani says this is the most exciting time for filmmakers as they are experimenting and getting creative freedom, all thanks to flexible audiences.
In the earlier centuries, filmmakers were apprehensive about trying out new themes because audiences were not so flexible, but today's movie buffs are open to new subjects spelling a boom time for creative minds. "I would not change from where I am for Rs.100 crore (movies). It's the most exciting time for the industry," said the 42-year-old director.
Talking about the change in the audience and industry, the director said, "I have been in the industry for 20 years and in these years, every day I used to think there will be a day when people will start understanding what we want to do, and the cinema will change. But, we forgot that audiences have always accepted great and different films. The last two and a half years have only proved that."
The box-office successes of women-centric thriller Kahaani, dark comedy Peepli Live and sperm-donation-based comedy Vicky Donor have proved that viewers are accepting change. "The kind of films that have been made only proves that every time you give something different to the audiences, they will accept it with open arms."
"I am very happy that the studios today are going to the directors who they wouldn't even look at in normal circumstances. It's the best time to make films. I want to thank the audiences and say that the more you accept it, the more we will give you different stuff, the more we will keep thinking differently and boldly," Advani added.
Advani's first full-fledged film as a director was Shah Rukh Khan-Priety Zinta-Saif Ali Khan starrer hit Kal Ho Naa Ho in 2003. After that he went behind the camera for Salaam-e-Ishq, Chandni Chowk To China and Patiala House, but they couldn't replicate the success of Kal Ho.. Advani hit the bull's eye with his animation film Delhi Safari, which won a National Award.
The filmmaker also feels today's youth is asking for a difference, whether its difference in politics, leadership, music, fashion or cinema. He admits that the demography of people looking for different films is lower than the masses sticking to certain subjects. "That's why you will always have a Rowdy Rathore or Bodyguard or Dabangg still working," said the director. "But the niche audience has grown over the past few years and that's very gratifying and helps filmmakers like us to make something different," he added.
Over the years, the definition of romance has also changed. "In 2003, when I made Kal Ho Naa Ho, the generation then believed that at the end of the day Shah Rukh will give up the love of his life for Saif... but today's generation is not like that, they will simply not accept it."
His next film D-Day is releasing on July 19. Nikhil Advani is making another romantic comedy next year. But it's the kind of romantic film that he thinks this generation would identify.