Friday, January 17, 2014

I await more ‘realistic’ cinema: Nandita Das

A versatile actress, a director par excellence and an active social worker, Nandita Das was born on December 7, 1969. She has been a known face in the Indian Film industry and abroad primarily for her performances and for the issues she takes up in her movies like Fire(1996), Earth (1998), Bawandar (2000), KannathilMuthamittal (2002), Azhagi and Before The Rains (2007).

In an interview with Ritika Pradhan, she talks about art and movies. Here are the excerpts of the interview.
  • Your movies have largely been non-commercial in nature. In an era of ‘paisa wasool cinema’ how do you foresee the non-commercial films?
In the present scenario, where issues like racism, violence against women, corruption, male chauvinism are corroding the society, it becomes our responsibility to give voice to those who are mute and subjugated. It is the responsibility of not only the films but of people like you and me and everyone. So far the future of these kinds of films is concerned I think we should continue to make more such films. I am not denying the fact that masaala movies are also important to entertain. What non-commercial movies need to learn is to draw audience towards theaters so that we can have a more realistic and serious cinema.

  • When you say non-commercial movie should learn to attract audience then what are the measures that you suggest?
One of the greatest loopholes of non-commercial cinema is that it lacks proper marketing. The idea of such cinema must be to generate awareness amongst the masses and not classes. I would like to see a day when non-commercial cinema starts selling and we aren’t afraid to produce more such cinema.

  • Your directorial debut ‘Firaaq’ is a nationally acclaimed movie but why couldn’t it release the way it should have?
Firaaq’ had a controversial political agenda attached to it as a result the movie couldn’t get the kind of response it should have. I knew this and some of my friends in the industry had even warned me about the wrong timing of the movie release but I thought there couldn’t be a better time than the elections. But when colleges and institutions contact us for special screening of the film, I feel that the purpose is achieved.

  • Your father, Jatin Das is a renowned artist. Do you think your sense of aesthetics and art is in your genes?
Yes of course! Whatever I am today is because of my baba. The independence with which he has brought me up and the freedom of thought that he emanates has always motivated me. He is a great man and has always done whatever he felt was right and I do the same. He is a role model. Look at this film festival where he is supporting tribal culture and art through short films and documentaries. He could have easily chosen some other theme but he didn’t.

  • What do you think is the biggest challenge to art?
It is the disconnect between people and art that is the reason why we have to have festivals like these. Art, otherwise is so fulfilling that it doesn’t need to be celebrated. It is feeling, a sense that you can celebrate anytime, any moment. Our education system is creating a generation who can’t appreciate the simplicity and purity of our culture because they don’t know about it. We all are responsible for creating such a generation. I crave for Odia food but my children love to have pizzas and burger. It is not their failure but my failure. Art and culture need to be lived with, they can’t just happen to you in a day or two.


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