Saeed Mirza, filmmaker, screenwriter and author, has done memorable films such as Arvind Desai ki Ajeeb Dastan, Mohan Joshi Hazir Hon, Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai and Naseem, for which he won two national awards. He also did the hit TV series, Nukkad and Intezar. Most recently, he has authored Ammi and then, The Monk, the Moor and Moses Ben Jalloun. Mirza is also Chairman, Governing Council for the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. SEEMA CHISHTI met him while he was visiting Delhi. Excerpts from the interview:
You say that you find yourself drawn to FTII way more than you had bargained for. Why?
When I come across young people who show you their work, I get engaged. It’s my alma mater, and I owe so much to that place. I have come to Delhi to talk to the Ministry (of Information and Broadcasting) and to the Prime Minister, to seek help and not only allow the institute to run more efficiently, but also to retain its spirit and identity. There are a lot of ghosts that walk around FTII, so that spirit, that ‘thing’ must be retained. Debates, disagreements and dialogues have always been a very important part of FTII.
Dialogues and travelling seem central to you. You keep setting out on long journeys within India.
People, without realising it, can turn either cynical or smug. If you take these journeys, you realise what you have missed. I am 70 but each time with these journeys I get rejuvenated as I visit the lives of ordinary people.
Another book on the horizon?
I am paying my respects to people who didn’t accept the status quo around the world, who stood their ground, did not turn cynical but continued to speak up for what they thought was right. We seem to have entered a world where there seems to be no big idea left. All that people seem to want is to get a job in a bank, or be a Narayana Murthy, Bill Gates or Mukesh Ambani. There is nothing wrong and I have nothing against these people, but there are surely other ways of seeing the