Chaitanya Tamhane the director of the Marathi film Court, one of the most acclaimed Indian films in recent times, is all set to spend six months of his life with the celebrated Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron of Gravity and Children Of Men fame.
Informs Chaitanya, “It’s an initiative by Rolex, the Swiss watch makers in their Mentor & Protege Arts endeavour. I will be joining Alfonso Cuaron in October to observe and assist him on his next feature film.”
Chaitanya says he is not at liberty to reveal more about Alfonso’s next film or its location. “All I can tell you is that I’ll be with Mr Cuaron from October on location for three months. And I am truly looking forward to it. He is a master-filmmaker and I am sure he has plenty to teach me.”
The 29-year old Maharashtrian director says he was pleasantly surprised to be selected for this honour. “It was Mr Cuaron who personally selected me from filmmakers across the world. I met him for two hours in London after I was selected. It was an amazing experience to just speak to him. He has travelled in India. He knows so much about India and Indian cinema.”
Cuoron had seen Chaitanya Tamhane’s highly-lauded Court. “I was bowled over by his understanding of the film. He is familiar with Marathi cinema and literature. He has actually read the entire Dnyaneshwari! I was deeply impressed and embarrassed by this. I have not read the Dnyaneshwari.”
While Chaitanya associates with Alfonso Cuaron he will also be scripting and preparing for his next directorial venture. “Court fetched me immense recognition. When it was selected as India’s entry to the Oscars, my producer and I went to Los Angeles and spent months lobbying. Though finally Court did not make it into the nominees’ list for Best Foreign Film I got to learn a lot about the way the West perceives Indian cinema.”
Chaitanya is honest enough to admit that Court missed the Oscar because the jury did not really get the film’s context. “I got the feeling that they liked the film. But the work’s strong cultural references could not register with the Academy Awards’ jury. That’s the feeling I got, though of course they didn’t tell me anything.”