Industry Camps

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The idea of industry camps existing, everyone was aware about. However, the existence of these camps intervening with a director’s creative abilities is one idea that hadn’t been thought about, unless one happened to catch Sanjay Leela Bansali’s comment to Karan Johar in the current season of “Koffee With Karan”.

Bansali commented to Karan in the episode that he thought that perhaps Karan at times felt obliged to take certain decisions in the making of his movies because he belonged to a certain “camp” or was answerable to certain people.

After this comment it made me think that is this true? Could movies have turned out to be far better if their respected makers had not made decisions that they were obliged to make due to belonging to a camp? Without feeling these obliges, could directors have made more suitable creative decisions?

We all know that the word “camp” and the phrase “the casting couch” are closely related. Makers and big stars in the industry are consistently denying the existence of both of these things but everyone knows in their own hearts that it certainly does exist.

Not to directly pick on the fantastic maker, Karan Johar, but he is great example of someone who’s creativity ability is blocked by his relations in the industry and the camp that he belongs to, as intelligently mentioned by SLB on Karan’s very own show.

Karan proudly boasts that without SRK a movie of his would not be possible. He cannot possibly think of casting another actor in the leading role. But is this necessarily a great thing? Yes, sure SRK is a fantastic performer and aces any role that he does but because we’ve never seen anyone else in those roles doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t an actor who would have suited those characters far more closely.

That is one great example of how belonging to a certain camp and how feeling obliged to certain people in the industry can block an artist’s creativity.

Without having both these things, a maker can let his or her creative mind run absolutely wild! They don’t have to match a certain actor with a role but a role with a certain actor. It was originally meant to be like that. Roles were made and actors were cast, but today because of the existence of these camps, actors are chosen first and roles are created afterwards.

Not just the casting but even the fine arts of cinema are affected by the existence of camps. Only a few popular music directors are the constant appearances in certain banner’s projects because of previous relations.

Dharma Productions is hooked onto Shankar, Ehsaan, and Loy since they gave a huge musical hit KHNH and couldn’t even dream of signing on another team for the music of KANK, which turned out to be let down after Kal Ho Na Ho. The same process has been used when choosing a choreographer or a lyricist.

Previous relationships and friendships are given much more importance than judging and making decisions based “solely” on the individual work and capabilities. Not only does the creative talent of makers suffer in such an industry but also those who could have done the job far better.

And to add to all the losses mentioned above, there is the element of surprise that is lost from the audiences. Because we the audience know the camps so well, we are absolutely sure of the cast of an upcoming movie and the credits that will roll at the end of the movie simply through the name of the maker.

Some might say that friendships and relationships are far more important than a good movie and that is why the existence of camps and the feeling of obligation in directors exist. However, if certain people are close friends and relations of yours, shouldn’t they of all people understand your decision far better?

It would be interesting to see in the future an industry whose makers aren’t obliged to cast certain people and hire certain ones. It would be interesting to keep guessing until final announcements on what the movie will be about and who’ll be in it. Most importantly it’ll be interesting to see what the riddance of camps does to a director’s creativity.

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