Here is our Reader Maqbool Parkar’s take on Formula Films, Director Raj Kumar Hirani and the most accomplished directors. Quite an interesting analysis we must say. Take a look and share your opinion on the same:

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There was a time when a lot was talked and debated about formula movie makers. The 90s was known for Mr. Manmohan Desai’s and Mr. Prakash Mehra who hold the dubious record of setting the trend for formula based movies. But we end up categorizing these two directors, who have provided Hindi cinema some of the most memorable and successful movies, the “Formula”. The Formula has been attempted by many directors, who blatantly agree to be inspired by them.

Raj Kumar Hirani
Raj Kumar Hirani

For some reason the term “Formula Movie” in spite of the fact that it proves that the Formula does work, has a sarcastic tone attached to it. Alas we do not attach this term to the “Formula movie” maker whose formula has apparently been the most successful in the last decade. He is rather termed as an intelligent (which I have no doubt he is) and the most “Hatke” movie maker. I am referring to the maker of the Munnabhai series, which includes apart from his first two movies 3 Idiots and now PK, which are nothing less than Munnabhai 3 and Munnabhai 4.

Mr. Rajkumar Hirani, who has provided some of the most well received movies, has apparently set his Formula which is too obvious, that anyone who will try to attempt it will be easily blamed for infringement. For some reason I have not seen anyone who has attempted to ape his Formula…the closest I can recall is the maker of Jolly LLB– Subhash Kapoor (The name of the movie itself is inspired).

Mr. Hirani movies have the tried and tested Formula:

  1. The protagonist is an oddball, be it Munnabhai, Rancho or PK
  2. The protagonist has a weird name
  3. The villain of his movies are never shown as the Grey characters. ..like other directors portray..In fact most of Mr. Hirani’s villains end up being lovable (Boman Irani is a star thanks to Raju Hirani. Respect)
  4. The famous catch phrase- Jadoo Ki Jhappi/ Ghandigiri/ All is well
  5. Always question the society- Be it the Education system, Corruption or Religious practices
  6. Provide solutions to the issues in society as if it is a Halwa- Which sane person thinks the Jadoo ki Jhappi/ Ghandigiri/ All is Well etc actually works

The fact that his movies are still working, in spite of them being so similar proves that:

  1. Hindi movie audience like the escapist view provided by Mr. Hirani
  2. Hindi movie audience don’t care if the Formula is repeated as long it end up bringing a smile on its face, even though they know for a fact there is nothing they can actually take with them from his movies except a highly exaggerated HOPE
  3. Mr. Hirani is a master in presenting the same Formula in a different avtar each time
  4. Mr. Hirani’s Formula is just another formula like the many directors who blatantly agree they follow the Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra formula ( Farah Khan/Prabhu Deva, Respect)
  5. Mr. Hirani has not yet proved that he is a versatile movie maker

My last point might irk many. but the fact is he never served us anything new, his presentation has been different but the taste of the dish has been the same.. Of course the dish has been excellent, as has been accepted by many. But how long should this work. Or is it like the ever edible and ever liked Wada Pav, which will always be liked and consumed, no matter who comes up in competition.

Mr. Hirani’s cinema is often compared to two of the legends Mr. Guru Dutt and Mr. Hrishikesh Mukherji. Both of them had their own Formula. But they had dared to attempt something other than their Formula. Mr. Dutt had attempted thrillers like Baazi, Jaal and Mr. Mukherji had attempted Namak Haram, Jurmana, Abhimaan.

Which brings me to the point, has Mr. Hirani reached a stage when he can be referred as the best director of the Hindi movie industry. I will say, not yet. He has still to prove his versatility. I do not take away his success and his ability to bring the audience attention and cash bell ringing with this statement.

Who then is versatile and has attempted to make different movies? I have some of my favorite directors who have at least attempted different genre:

Ram Gopal Varma – He has his range of Gangster (Satya, Company), Horror (Raat, Bhoot), Thriller (Kaun, Jungle), Road Movies (Daud, Road), Comedy (Love ke liye..), Political dramas (Sarkar, Rann)…it’s a different thing he has lost his track now and ends up focusing on weird camera angles than the script. But guys …who has the courage to remake Sholay and cast Mr Bacchan as Gabbar …and then admit his blunder. RESPECT

Mahesh Bhatt – Even though he has retired he is still comparable to the current lot as his presence is still there. This man has proved his versatility in both so called art movies (Saransh) and commercial movies ( Duplicate/Dil Hai ke Manta Nahi). The Bhatt brothers have probably provided more Return on Investments than the big banners ( Yash Raj/ Dharma). Who has even dared to cast someone like Sunny Leonne and making a star out of her.RESPECT

Both these directors have contributed the most to the Hindi film industry and have given such talented actors (Anupam Kher/ Manoj Bajpai etc), script writers and directors (Anurag Kashyap, Tigmanshu, Saurabh Shukla). Yet, they do not enjoy the commercial success of Mr. Hirani. But as long as here are viewers like me who relish movies which actually depict reality rather than provide a happy ending formula Mr. Ram Gopal Varma and Mr Mahesh Bhatt will always be appreciated and for this they do not require any technical award. Their award is the brilliant work of the filmmakers inspired by them.

PS: I will rather enjoy watching Ugly than PK.. I am a Vishal Bharadwaj fan too.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. although the content described is excellent and kudos to you for this kind of exceptional eye on raju hirani’s work but our society (including me) likes this kind of HIGHLY EXAGGERATED HOPE because we are bored of mass movies like # happy new year & # kick .
    I am a srk fan.

  2. Completely agree. A great film maker is one who successfully attempts various genres not sticking to one. Raju Hirani is no doubt a very successful filmmaker but He is Very Far away from being a great filmmaker.

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