His debut film Udaan made him fly straight to the world’s most prestigious film festival on the planet, Cannes Film Festival. But this isn’t true: When people meet these off-beat filmmakers or to put it better, these independent filmmakers they generally expect them to be dark, edgy and more than a little bit weird. Whatever! But it seems natural enough that most people imagine Motwane will be a scowling mass of repressed emotion while they bump into the director at the ongoing 13th Mumbai Film Festival. His angst against the showing of Moneyball as the opening film is quite evident and he’s got the reasons to back him too, which is why it comes as something of a surprise to walk into the Cinemax theatre where our interview is scheduled to find him calm, composed and in all his cinematic charm. UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent brings you much more than just the angst and the calm in this ‘Director’s Cut’ special with Vikramaditya Motwane.
“I don’t understand why are we playing or premiering the festival with a Hollywood movie?”
The festival is called the Mumbai Film Festival. I don’t understand why are we playing or premiering the festival with a Hollywood movie? There should be an Indian film to open the festival and close it. You can have other movies but at least not put them to open the fest. Why don’t we have more Indian films in International competition then? Why isn’t Dhobi Ghat there? Why isn’t any other film there? In fact, you should have a movie that breaks new grounds at the festivals. In that case, The Artist could’ve been the best film to open the festivals.
“The long queues tell us that we haven’t lost the charm of festivals”
No way we’ve lost the essence of the festivals, in India or abroad. Yes, it’s a good way to do business but if you look at it this way, it’s all about film lovers coming to one venue and watching and discussing films. Did you look at the long queues outside the screens? That shows that festivals haven’t lost its charm. In fact, it’s better here than it is anywhere else in India. Mumbai is the second largest film producing nation in the world and we have to have that prestige and charm in the festivals we organise.
“I won’t be surprised if The Artist goes and sweeps the Oscars next year”
I’m looking forward to a lot of movies at the festival. The Artist, Once Upon A Time in Anatolia, Tomboy, etc. There are bunch of them. But I won’t be surprised if The Artist goes and sweeps the Oscars next year. I don’t see any other contender. When Life is Beautiful came, no one thought that it would sweep the Oscars. I recently saw Pathar Panchali on the big screen and I loved it. It was quite an experience. I’ve seen the movie before but for the first time I’ve seen it as a grown up.
“Udaan will be screened at the festival in Croatia next week”
My film Udaan is still playing in festivals around the globe as we speak. It’s as of now in Beirut and then travelling to Croatia next week. I just came from a trip to the U.S where Udaan was screened for the African American students as a part of the Sundance’s initiative. It was screened in Mississippi too. What Udaan has done for me is repaid my faith back in the audiences. I made a film that I totally believed in.
“We want to have a control on our films and that’s why we are independent filmmakers”
It’s not that I don’t have faith in the studios or the production houses and I will keep on going gung ho about the independent films have to be supported financially. It’s not why we make films. We want to have a control on our films and that’s why we are independent filmmakers. Yes, we want stars to work in our films but then we don’t want to compromise too.
“You go to Twitter or Facebook and everyone reviews a movie”
We’ve reached a stage where everyone is a reviewer. You go to Twitter or Facebook and everyone reviews a movie. You have a wide selection to choose from. I remember when I was young I used to read reviews only from Khalid Mohammed while he used to work with The Times of India. I think you get a chance over a period of time to decide who your standard reviewer is. Then you will make him as your base and view movies.
“From the Bollywood bunch, I am looking forward to Sriram Raghavan’s Agent Vinod”
Yes, India requires a lot more of everything and just not story tellers. If you want to cast a young girl in your movie, how many options do you have? Three or four? That’s bad. When people come and say that Bodyguard has done so much business, let’s not forget that ZNMD has also done equally good. It’s a varied audience. Give them something different and new and they’ll appreciate it. It means that the industry is changing. Delhi Belly, Stanley Ka Dabba, Pyaar Ka Punchnama, etc. are examples that people appreciate varied cinema. From the Bollywood bunch, I am looking forward to Sriram Raghavan’s Agent Vinod.
“Every time I see Mr. Yash Chopra I want to touch his feet”
Every time I see Mr. Yash Chopra I want to touch his feet. He is so alive and kicking man! It’s unbelievable this man has got so much energy to make movies at this age. God, we all love him and learn so much from him. My favourite Yash Chopra directed movie is Deewar.