Sadly, this has been due to too much of hype created for Aamir Khan who produced the film and the directors getting side tracked. After all Peepli Live is purely a film based on the idea of Anusha Rizvi.
Anusha Rizvi has officially stated, “Let me keep out of this film as Aamir Khan is becoming the centre of attraction more than Peepli Live. My husband earlier wanted to disassociate himself from the film at least 20 times. But he stayed back on my request and purely for the interest of the film. If the film and the main minds behind it do not get due credit, what is the use of playing second fiddle to Aamir Khan?”
This is not the first time that Aamir Khan has been involved in a controversy about not according credit where it belongs. Amol Gupte who conceived and scripted, Taare Zameen Par was removed as director of the film as his views did not match with that of Aamir Khan who took over the direction later. A hurt Amol Gupte maintained a distance from Taare Zameen Par though he was credited as the creative director.
Later the controversy surrounding 3 Idiots also saw Aamir Khan speaking on behalf of the producers rather than in support of author Chetan Bhagat.
The creative scenario in the 50s and 60s was not so disheartening and polluted as it is today. Raj Kapoor a top actor, director, editor of his times gave breaks to new comers like Amar Kumar and Raja Nawathe as directors to direct Ab Dilli Door Nahin, Boot Polish and Aah for RK Productions. He also gave the Bengali duo of Shambhu Mitra and Amal Mitra full scope to direct his most memorable film, Jagte Raho. Radhu Karmakar, his ace cinematographer directed Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai and received credits though a lot of the background work was conducted by Raj Kapoor himself. As Raj Kapoor always said, “I never will interfere in the work of another director I have appointed to direct a certain production of mine. I will do so only if I find him inefficient.”
No wonder, Raj Kapoor is still remembered as a great artist and a greater human-being. Something Aamir Khan could take note of.
Dev Anand gave his publicist Amarjeet breaks as a director to direct, Hum Dono and Teen Deviyan which was not a Navketan Production. Dev Anand confesses, “Amarjeet was not cut out to be a director. So script writer, Vijay Anand stepped in and directed Hum Dono which went on to become a classic. Teen Deviyan was unofficially my first directional venture but I never took credit as we all Anands wanted Amarjeet to prosper. There is no need of taking undue credit as doing so does not go well with a decent image.”
The actor, writer, director and editor who has taken least credit for his innumerable successful and critically acclaimed works is Manoj Kumar. When asked, he smiles and answers, “I rewrote the script of Woh Kaun Thi after Dhruv Chatterjee completed it. Both he and director Raj Khosla requested me to do so. I almost wrote and directed the entire of Gumnaam as Raja Nawathe was not confident of his directional abilities. I even rewrote the first half of Mera Naam Joker which Raj Kapoor and KA Abbas officially acknowledged. I am not in love with myself at all and don’t unnecessarily feel the urge to project my abilities or to blow my own trumpet. There are plenty of leading actors and technicians who I am sure will speak about my contributions.”
Guru Dutt gave his chief assistant Raj Khosla the coveted chance to direct his slick suspense thriller CID. Not for once did he interfere in the directional work of Raj Khosla after the later mildly protested against his interference initially. He confessed after the silver jubilee of CID, “I had full confidence in the abilities of Raj Khosla and look what an excellent film he has made.” Guru Dutt, the thorough gentleman and professional, also did a lot of background direction for Chaudhivin Ka Chand and Saheb Biwi Gulam but gave full liberty to directors M Sadiq and Abrar Alvi to direct the films and each was truly memorable.
Referring to the Peepli Live incident, Madhur Bhandarkar says, “I really don’t know what the internal story of the film how the relation between Aamir Khan and its directors is. But it is a brilliantly directed film and Anusha Rizvi deserves kudos for her work.” Yash Chopra who initially rose to fame by directing Dhool Ka Phool, Dharamputra, Waqt and Aadmi Aur Insan for elder brother, BR Chopra decided to branch out on his own and became an institution by himself but he too with the passage of time, withdrew into the background, handing over the creative reigns to son Aditya Chopra and other efficient directors. An intelligent decision indeed.
Whether Aamir Khan can ever, despite his powerful position in the industry ever create the kind of goodwill and respect created by a Raj Kapoor, a Dev Anand or a Guru Dutt. These men were not just great actors, producers and directors but also leaders who inspired and nurtured others to excel. Aamir has talent and achievements but much of his success is media driven as well. Covering up an excellent film like Peepli Live with his larger than life image as producer and not giving due credit to director Anusha Rizvi does not speak well for his professionalism, honesty or aesthetic integrity.