Though Shekhar Kapoor says he enjoyed making a segment of New York, I Love You, he was dismayed by the space provided. Now Shekhar is reluctant to do more films in the series that has so far covered Paris and New York.
Says Shekhar, “They approached me for Berlin, I Love You and Shanghai, I love You. I must say I was a little disappointed by the experience. A short film is a piece of art where you go into it and then find the core. When the audience goes to watch a feature film the expectation is to be entertained. Here in a short film, the audience is expected to come on a much deeper level. There are no explanations offered. The audience has to find its own truth.”
Shekhar was disappointed by the experience. “I had done a slightly longer version. They asked me to make it shorter. I did, because every other film in the bouquet was about five minutes long while mine was fourteen minutes. I reasoned that every other director had his own script whereas I was directing someone else’s. I brought it down by about two minutes.”
Also, to his dismay the music of Shekhar’s New York film was done in his absence. “That was in the contract. But it still made a difference to be not present when the music was done. The music adds a new dimension to the story. I learnt that from Pyarelal while I was working on Mr India with him. Pyarelal just added layers to scenes. I’ve learnt the art of using the camera to tell a story from Ashok Mehta. Just as I learnt to use music like Pyarelal. I’ve worked with other musical geniuses like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and A. R. Rahman. But nothing like Pyarelal. During Bandit Queen and Elizabeth I applied what I learnt from Pyarelal. Naturally I like to be part of the creative process when the music is being done.”
Talking more on the New York film, Shekhar says, “It was Anthony Mingehella’s project, after his death when it passed on to me. I actually imagined him to be with me. I tried to make it the way Anthony would have. I knew Anthony when he was alive. I slowed down the pace of my film to a dreamy rhythm, because that’s the way Anthony Minghella looked at life in the movies. I made it the way he would have instead of the way I saw it.”
After it was finished, Shekhar sent the film to Minghella’s wife. “After she saw it she called me and was crying. She said, ‘This is the perfect book-end to Anthony’s career’. I shot the 12-minute short-film in just two days. I shot another short film of 18 minutes in Buenos Aires in four days. Then I shot one in Iceland in three days which is 20 minutes long. Because you are not bound by script dialogue, shots and frames, you are required to create a film in that chaos. Just use the camera to find a theme.”