Indian-origin Hollywood director M. Night Shyamalan feels that Indian cinema is limited in its genres by being inclined towards “Shakespearean kinds of movement and plots” — the reason why its audiences have not developed a taste for supernatural stories or films about aliens.
Shyamalan, who started his cinematic journey with a drama titled “Praying with Anger”, has excelled in making thrillers. From superhero thriller “Unbreakable” and science fiction “Signs” to supernatural horror “The Sixth Sense” and fantasy adventure “The Last Airbender” — he has tried it all.
Now the filmmaker is coming out with his alien film “After Earth”, which stars Hollywood actor Will Smith and his son Jaden. It releases here June 7.
“There aren’t great variants in the genre of Indian cinema. They don’t have a lot of horror and alien movies,” Shyamalan told IANS on phone from London in an exclusive interview.
“They stick to the big fight scenes, songs, lovers who met when they were kids, getting married, falling in love… Shakespearean kinds of movement and plots. More specific genres haven’t had a foothold (in Indian cinema). If you make different varieties of films, the audience will start to like it,” added the 42-year-old.
Indian filmmakers do endorse horror genre, but plots are mostly about spirits or crafts like black magic. The director feels that more grounded dimensions of horror should be touched upon.
“…Probably a more grounded take on horror (will work),” he said.
For instance, creature horror movies are made in Hollywood and accepted worldwide by movie buffs, but there is hardly any Indian celluloid adventures revolving around creatures.
The main reason is time constraint, assumes Shyamalan.
“I guess it is the time. My understanding is that Bollywood films are made much faster. To make a creature movie properly takes at least a year. Someone has to be totally dedicated to that and has to be off the market… that means they can’t make three to four movies a year. It is a big commitment for everyone involved,” he said.
Gauging a film’s box office success before its release is not so tough, believes Shyamalan.
“If I am making a movie, which is scary, and if I am watching it and it is scaring me, then we are in a good place. The audience will feel the same way. You will understand while you are making it if it will not do what it is supposed to be doing,” he said.
Budgets are often huge when it comes to horror films, but Shyamalan likes to be economical.
“I tend to be okay with budgets and not go very big. I am happy to say each movie is always lower than what it should be. It comes from minimalist taste. I like to insinuate a lot when I make stories. So that is a very economical way to make stories,” he said.
For the director, the story is the backbone even in a horror film.
“In the way I approach them, movies are dramas at their centre and all the extra stuff are kind of ornamentation on the tray,” he said.