Bollywood films chronicling small town lives and real issues are scoring big at the box office and actor Farhan Akhtar's noticed the pattern too.
As reported by Indian Express, the Karthik Calling Karthik leading man says, “It has been a very different kind of a year (for Bollywood). The films that have performed well and even been appreciated seem to be talking about our issues, dwelling less in fantasy and more in reality."
“I feel like it's a very good thing that those films have worked but I don’t think that it is the death of escapist cinema at all.” He says the shift suggests that the audience want their “time and money should be respected”.
“I feel these are phases which happen. Even within escapist cinema, if you find a good story to tell, it will do well. What is working right now, most importantly, is that there is a hunger to go to the cinema to be entertained but also engaged in a way that is not frivolous."
“People want a certain amount of respect when they watch a film, it should be worth of their time.”
Farhan’s next, Lucknow Central is set against the backdrop of a prison, where five convicts who have been given life imprisonment form a music band.
“When I heard the story, I was amazed by it! The fact that these guys go out and perform, have a proper booking counter now, blew me away. They leave the jail, go out, perform and come back. It's amazing," he reveals. He also said that he watched a documentary made on the inmates to understand their life and also watched them play live.
This sounds like the kind of cinema right up his alley but he shares that his audience still identifies more with his urban characters.
“Everything I do is gauged under the shadow of Dil Chahta Hai. Even Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Rock On which are very urban films. So I'm always seen through that lens. Films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag or even Wazir had me playing different characters, so I've played small town characters too.”
Directed by debutante Ranjit Tiwari, Lucknow Central is slated for release on 15 September.