Fifteen days – there was only a tiny window between Agneepath, which released on January 26, and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (EMAET), which hit the screens last Friday.
The two films are different in many ways. Agneepath is a gritty, violent, revenge drama rooted in the grime of Mumbai’s chawls and the rustic starkness of Mandwa. On the other hand, EMAET is a glossy, youthful, rom-com totally at ease in glitzy Las Vegas, where it is largely based. Agneepath represents the enduring success of films cast in the traditional mass commercial film mould that cater to the lowest common denominator, while EMAET is the personification of the so-called ‘multiplex’ film – urbane, slick and willing to experiment a bit.
What unites the two films is the fact that both have done well at the box office (make that very well in the case of Agneepath!), both feature popular stars and both were preceded by sustained and effective marketing campaigns.
The most crucial link between these two movies, of course, is the fact that they were both made by the same banner – Dharma Productions – with Agneepath being a solo offering from the banner and EMAET, a co-production with UTV.
One monster hit and one semi-hit in a year would be a dream-come-true for most production houses, and indeed many do not achieve that even in a lifetime. To accomplish that in a fortnight is truly a spectacular feat and congratulations are in order to the man of the moment, Karan Johar, and the team at Dharma Productions.
Nothing succeeds like success, and in our industry nothing breeds envious derision like success either! However, success – especially of the consistent, sustained variety – is never accidental and definitely not something to be scoffed at. While members of the fraternity may choose to find fault with Karan Johar’s brand of filmmaking, there is no mightier jury than the ticket-buying audience and they have chosen to repose their time (and money) more often than not with the films he brings out as a director or producer.
I think it is no less noteworthy that Dharma Productions, with Karan at the helm, is one of the very few productions houses that have touched even greater heights after a generational passing of the baton. We need only to look at the shambles most once-iconic banners find themselves in to appreciate how rare that is in our trade, even though filmmaking is often seen as a family vocation.
Add to that the increasing numbers of exciting new directors that Dharma has introduced – not to mention the excellent and warm rapport Karan shares with most people within the fraternity – and it would be no exaggeration to say that the banner and the filmmaker are arguably the most influential force in the industry right now.
As kids, we were often taught that good dharma = good karma. Maybe we need to flip that equation in our industry: good karma = good Dharma!