Raman Kumar is back to what he knows best - exploring relationships. ANUJ KUMAR meets the seasoned director
Many summers ago he had shown us that cinema need not be fantastic to be successful. Saath Saath may not have the highest recall value, but turn on "Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar, Yeh Ghar Bahaut Haseen Hai" any time, even the proponents of `wholesome entertainment' would long for days when people like you and me used to find screen space. Now director Raman Kumar is promising those days again. He is working on a series of five films dealing with man-woman relationships. "I believe the society is going through a similar phase to when it appreciated subjects like Saath Saath, Anubhav and Rajnigandha. In Saath Saath, it's the male whose values get corrupt and the wife takes a stand against him. Working people are again facing trying times in metros, unable to come to terms with issues like gender equality and value judgement despite being highly qualified."The first film, he says is called Das Saal and is expected to have Kay Kay and Koel Purie in the lead. "Here the subject is ego... how much a couple should know about each other. These days sentences like `you didn't tell me that' are snowballing into conflicts in married life."
For long we have been waiting for his Sarhad Par, a film on a prisoner of war, and Raman says the wait is about to be over. "Though the film deals with the emotional angle of the war, still we felt that these are not the times to release the film. Earlier Sanjay Dutt kept on taking other projects in between, delaying the film. Now we are reworking the subject. Pakistani actor/singer Fakre Alam has also been signed."And what about his almost hysterical turn to films like Raja Bhaiya and Wah Wah Ramji? Raman has an excuse. "I wanted to work with Govinda and Paresh Rawal. To me Govinda is the complete actor. Directors, including me, haven't tested his range and he seems satisfied doing a certain type of role. But I managed to complete the film with him in eight months!" he laughs.
`Change is constant'
A bigger name on the small screen where he has given serials like Tara, Ehsaas and the ongoing Millie, Raman says the only thing constant on television is change. "The concepts are like newspapers. They are fresh for a day. Tara worked because it was a novelty. For the first time today's woman was seen on TV. Something similar happened with saas-bahu, howsoever regressive critics might find it. Now saas-bahu will never work again." Raman holds his serials have never been regressive. "In Millie, the maid wears a cap, plays football and beats up the bad elements." As for the serial moving away from the central theme, Raman defends, "It's part of the original Spanish serial concept. We have to follow the format."He laments the news channels have made the task of holding audience attention even more difficult. "They are offering entertainment with lines like hathyare aage badhe... phir bhi unki pyaas na bujhi."