Puri Jagannadh is a maverick filmmaker who has delivered mindblowing films of Tollywood in the past 2 decades. Though he faced a few flops in a row, he made a comeback with iSmart Shankar. But, that doesn’t mean he has made a great film. iSmart Shankar was slammed by critics and it deserved to be. Except for an honest performance from Ram and excellent music from Mani Sharma, there is nothing good about the film. The music especially was a huge hit so much so that the B, C centers witnessed Housefull boards as the mass audience lined up to watch the electrifying dance moves of Ram. But if Puri and his team believe that they made a masterpiece and delivered a hit, it will be a big mistake on their part.
They could be trying the same formula on Liger. If at all it's true, here are some reasons why Puri Jagannadh should mend his ways at the earliest. These points might be in reference to Puri Jagannadh’s recent films but they apply to many other commercial movie directors.
Misogyny Is Not Cool:
If we take a look at most of Puri Jagannadh’s films, they are filled with misogynistic dialogues and actions. There was a time in the early 2000s when the Telugu audience never cared about the in-depth meanings of mass dialogues. But times have changed now. The audience of this generation are knowledgeable and they are up for a debate if something offensive is shown in movies or anywhere for that matter. The usage of misogynistic dialogues and making it sound cool has to be stopped immediately.
Stalking/Harassing Women Is Punishable:
It is unfortunate that even in 2019, there is a film that has a hero stalking heroine in the name of love. Yes, most sensible men would not do that in reality. But, it is a fact that many teenagers and youngsters are inspired by such scenes and think that it is cool. Young men should be taught about consent and that it is inappropriate to stalk and touch others without their permission. Most of the rapes in our country happen because men feel that they have the right on women and such thoughts are born from watching these kinds of scenes in movies repeatedly. It is high time Puri avoids such scenes as his films have a wider reach because of his brand name.
Commercial Film Heroes Can Be Sensible Too:
All the directors who have not understood this yet have been rejected by the Telugu audience. No matter how big a director you are, if your film’s lead character is talking nonsense, you have to be ready to face backlash. There are directors like Koratala Siva, Sekhar Kammula, etc. who are coming up with commercially successful movies with their lead actors being extremely sensible. There is nothing wrong with having dance numbers or fight scenes in commercial entertainers but the lead actor must behave sensibly. Your hero need not be over-aggressive (and abusive at times) to make your film a hit at the box office.
Objectifying Women Should End ASAP:
The only reason there were two female leads in iSmart Shankar is because it will be convenient to objectify them in various ways. Apart from that, there seems to be no other reason. Commercial movies have female leads all dressed up in glamorous outfits and appear in dance numbers. But there’s a certain limit to show the actress glamorously and to objectify them. It is pretty uncomfortable to even think that directors are intentionally doing this to make more money at the box office.
Upcoming directors must also take note of these points and should be aware of what they are writing and picturizing. The reason why we chose Puri Jagannadh as a reference is that he is a brilliant director who is very good at penning sensible dialogues. But sadly, he is being influenced by people around him in the name of scoring a hit. His films in the early 2000s had commercial elements too, but there was an underlying emotion/message that made his movies work at the box office too.
Once his focus shifted towards gangster flicks after the success of Pokiri, Puri lost his spark. Except for Businessman and Temper (even these films had offensive scenes and dialogues), none of his recent films are decent enough to watch. We can only hope he makes a good comeback with a sensible film in the near future.