Why did you agree to judge a short film competition
UTV and I are friendsthey distributed Harishchandrachi Factory, which is the movie of the month at UTV World Movies. The film is about Dadasaheb Phalkes first film; and the short films will be films by new talent, so I am excited to be part of it.
Tell us a bit about Harishchandrachi Factory and of the struggles around its filming.
Call it a struggle, but everyday on the sets consolidated my faith in the film. I wanted to do it my way, and would not compromise on that. Many producers I met wanted me to make the film in Hindi, but I stuck to Marathi because that is the language I am comfortable with. As I struggled, it made me stubborn and I was determined to finish the film my way.
This quality of being stubborn how does it help or impede a film-maker
I think its a necessity for film-makers to be stubborn to their cause. It is perhaps easier if you get big stars in your film, but when the environment tests you, when there are hurdles and you emerge from the struggle with a product the way you wanted it to be, its very satisfying. After the initial struggle was over, the response to Harishchandrachi has been phenomenal, and the Oscar entry was just the icing on the cake.
What are you working on next
I am in the middle of writing my next film, but I cant divulge anything more at this stage.
Is the film based on the Mahabharata
Well, I have written a play on the Mahabharata. Its because I am interested in our ancient texts and for 15 years now I have done objective research on the subject. Theres been plenty of surprises and shocks. The years of research is reflected in my film and theatre work. I may write a book on it someday. I have given lectures all across Maharashtra on our spiritual textstypically, two to three hour sessions, following which theres a debate on the topic.
What is your perspective on Bollywood Are new talent, ideas and stories being welcomed
For the past two years, we have seen the mainstream audience accepting newer ideas and newer people. But small films are not being viewed on a larger scale, and thats a cause for concern. Why should a Ghajini be accepted widely, and A Wednesday do business only in certain pockets Audiences are an integral part of the industry and perhaps, we need to analyse what they want to watch a little more closely. We need to educate our audience and need to take these films to smaller towns. If a film is good, it should appeal to everyone.
Do newcomers still have to struggle in the industry
Yes, of course, but thats not necessarily a bad thing. It helps you to consolidate faith in yourself and in your craft. The struggle I went through for Harishchandrachi Factory, waiting to raise money for three years, helped me as a film-makerthe journey was necessary.