EAGER, ADVENTUROUS, meticulous, and quicker: This year's debutant directors earned some of these epithets. The theme of their debut films varied accordingly: From emotions to thrills, social subjects to plain entertainment. Some triumphed while others tumbled. Here's a look at some freshers and their fare.
AMIT SAXENA: Elders hated his "Jism" and the young generation lapped up this offering, claimed to be based loosely on a Hollywood film, "Double Indemnity". Through a bold subject, audacious treatment and euphonic songs, the director struck the right chord with his target - a young and liberal audience. A promising name on the Bollywood horizon.
KEN GHOSH: Love is not just about being seen together in "good looking" company. It is about sentiments, sacrifice and sincerity. Ken's message was sent beautifully across to the target audience, the young generation through "Ishq Vishq", a cute, light film.
HONEY IRANI: She raised expectations with "a fresh cast" in "Armaan" but received tepid response. Its unexpected end, otherwise the saving grace of the film, too could not go down well with audiences used to stereotypes.
TIGMANSHU DHULIA: His "Haasil" was a likable though `grey' film on a social topic. The compliment from critics' quarters that Tigmanshu has a strong grip on the subject has encouraged this young NSD graduate to take another plunge with his forthcoming "Charas", a take on the nexus between the narcotics trade and the Police.
APOORVA LAKHIA: This assistant of Mira Nair in "Kamasutra", Aashutosh Gowrikar in "Lagaan" and Ang Lee in "The "Ice Storm" could not do away with his passion for modernism it seems, hence his choice of Lara Dutta to play a village girl in his "Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost"! Both village and modern audience refused to swallow this bitter pill of synthesis.
ROHAN SIPPY: Despite taking a sensitive subject with a sensitive approach, melodious songs and an A-grade cast, his "Kuch Na Kaho" met a catastrophic end. Sippy seems to be lacking in the mass approach that his father epitomised. Lavish homes and designer clothes may not always go with a touching subject, Sippy!
CHANDAN ARORA: "Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon": Dreams like this should remain dreams. Maybe this is the message the audiences were trying to get across to the director. Despite being a cute film it met a mediocre box office fate. Audiences with double standards, the director might complain!
PRAVEEN S. KAUL: Beware of such a horrible debut film as "Sssshhh". Kaul, please sssshhh!
CHANDER PRAKASH DWIVEDI: His "Pinjar" remained a critics' and niche audiences' film. Dwivedi should be thanked for not twisting the facts and ending it in a melodramatic "Gadar" way to lure more audience, and set the cash registers ringing. A trustworthy name, hence.
SHASHANK GHOSH: "Waisa Bhi Hota Hai": A miserable flop, aisa hi hota hai when patches of many films are stitched together. This Channel V guy must learn to treat his audiences differently from the `V' way!
NIKHIL ADVANI: "Kal Ho Na Ho": Despite a unanimous cry from the rooftops that Karan Johar ghost-directed this film, Nikhil Advani has swum ashore, safe and triumphant. The film is the grandest hit of the year, so what if small city audiences are sulking!
RAJKUMAR HIRANI: "Munna Bhai M.B.B.S": A refreshing change from the recurring, cheap comedy of Bollywood. It's Hirani's own baby, no contributions from Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the producer. Hirani has won countless friends from both metropolitan cities and villages.
Besides, the youngest of the lot Robby Grewal's "Samay, When Time Strikes" a real edge-of-the seat murder mystery and Ashwini Choudhary's "Dhoop" on old parents of a Kargil martyr, were splendidly made films with a tight plot and complete command over the subject. Unfortunately, the calibre of both the directors went unnoticed at the box office.
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