Vidur’s Open Letter – 2 : To Shazahn Padamsee

Hi Shazahn ,

Last night I saw your debut film “ Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year ”. I liked this new flick from Yash Raj Films immensely. Critics, anyway, have given it rave reviews.

I must state that its not a typical Hindi film. Hindi films have their own flavour, their own set rules and their distinctive mass appeal. Typical candy floss and escapist films have ruled Hindi film industry since ages, precisely since the days of the first talkie “ Alamara ”. A new set of avant -garde film makers tried to change the rules with their realistic and issue based Art films. They seemed to be successful for the time being, but eventually they failed miserably. Barring Mr. Shyam Benegal, all those self-proclaimed custodians and flag-bearers of Art films are now dormant and are lying low. Art film movement withered away. It was a case of early, premature and inglorious death.

With the advent of corporate world and with the help of their funds, Hindi film-making rules were once again changed dramatically. New directors started making new age films. All the set norms were broken. Young and well-educated film makers started making new kind of films. They started experimenting. My nomenclature, for these kind of new films, is Unconventional Films. So Hindi film industry now has three sets of films ; Candy Floss Films , Art Films and Unconventional Films. Your film belongs to the last category. In fact Yash Raj Films has unique distinction of producing Candy Floss and Unconventional Films with same zeal, zest and vigour. “ Kabul Express ”, “ Chak De India ” and now “ Rocket Singh-Salesman of the Year ” are Unconventional films from Yash Raj stable. There is no need to list their Candy Floss films, as they are well known.

Some people are panning your film for lack of entertainment value. I fail to fathom their logic and wisdom. Entertainment value is a subjective thing. What could be entertaining for one set of people, could be repulsive for others. And what is boring for others, could be quite hilarious for different set of people. For me your film was very entertaining and engrossing. Kudos to Mr. Jaideep Sahni for excellent and hilarious dialogues and specially for this unique and new subject. As for the director is concerned, my admiration for Mr. Shimit Amin now knows no bounds. He should be feted for his courage of not following established trends and deliberating ignoring the rules and norms of traditional film-making system. His three films “ Ab Tak Chhappan ” , “ Chak De India ” and now “ Rocket Singh- Salesman of the Year ”, bear ample testimony of his courage, conviction and resolve. Mr. Aditya Chopra needs all the praise for producing these path breaking, new-age, Unconventional films, which defy all the logic and logistics of traditional Hindi film-making ways.

My first open letter was addressed to Ranbir Kapoor. In that letter I have made detailed comments on his acting capability and his mastery on characterization. In this film again he delivers a wonderfully immaculate and flawless performance. This is my second letter and here I would like to illustrate some points about your acting ability. I still remember the day, when your legendary father Mr. Alyque Padamsee called me to train you and though, he was not comfortable in Hindi, tried to talk to me in Hindi. It was a wonderful and nice gesture. I won’t be able to forget it ever. I remember my first visit to your place and meeting your illustrious mother, Mrs. Sharon Prabhakar also. She was equally magnanimous. We started class and last night when I was sitting in Fame Adlab Multiplex and was watching your first film, it looked as if everything happened only a day before. It was delight to watch you on screen.

Don’t get disheartened by some media reports that this film got a lackluster opening. Even Kajol in “ Bekhudi ” and Rani Mukherjee in “ Raja Ki Ayegi Barat ” had lackluster beginnings. Dilip Kumar in “ Jwar Bhata ” and Amitabh Bachchan in “ Saat Hindustani ” also had shaky starts. Contrary to some media reports, your film is not a flop. It is not a costly film. Its target audience is in metro cities and not in B or C centers. I had watched “ Vivah ” in the same Fame Multiplex and people were booing it. Still it was one of the biggest hits of that year. Its target audience was in B and C centers. Same way your film is not going to be a hit in B and C centers but it is going to be a profit earning proposition in the metro cities and in the multiplexes. People were laughing and clapping in the Fame Adlab last night. You made a right choice and chose this prestigious Yash Raj flick for your debut film. Your pairing against Ranbir Kapoor is like icing on a cake. Though learned critics ( ? ) are saying that it is a small role as compared to Gauhar Khan, but according to me, you made a right decision and it is a confident debut.

I would love to watch you in many films in future and wish you all the success and glory. May you be the worthy daughter of your legendary and illustrious parents.



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