BY ARTI DAS | NT BUZZ
What made you decided on making a children’s film ‘Elizabeth Ekadeshi’ after making a period drama ‘Harishchandrachi Factory?’
I don’t choose my subjects accordingly. It just happens. This story, which is based in the temple town of Pandharpur, was related to me by my wife, Madhugandha Kulkarni. These are basically her experiences of the town she grew up in, and I was quite fascinated by the story.
How easy or difficult it was to get children act? Also what was the experience of shooting your film in the busy streets of the temple town of Pandharpur like?
The most difficult part for me was to get the children to not act. Children are so used to acting and sometimes overdue it through their gestures, which are so vivid. So, to tone down their acting we conducted workshops with them where we got them to unlearn their acting. We told them that they have to be just themselves on screen. Shooting in Pandharpur was terribly terrific. When we landed there it was Kartiki Ekadeshi, a time when at least half a million devotees descend on the temple town. It was quite a challenge to shoot on the busy streets with children.
Do we have a good number of films catering to children being made in India?
To answer your question there are not many children’s films in our country. But, as a child I immensely enjoyed ‘Sholay’ and in no way was it a children’s movie. I think the only criteria for any movie is that it should be a good film.
Besides being a good film, should a film also not send out a message, especially say in the case of children’s cinema?
According to me nobody learns from a film or a play. This concept is overhyped. Films are a medium of creating a good form of art. It succeeds when the audience starts extracting things from it. That’s how the art should work. Making a film with a message does not make it good. It becomes good when the film stand on its own feet. As a filmmaker I should not get concessions just because I made a film on a famous personality or on a theme. At the end of the day the film should be engaging.
Did you feel pressure while making this film given that your first film ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’ instantly bracketed you in the successful filmmaker category?
It would be wrong to say that I didn’t feel the pressure to perform, but I was also waiting for the right story to tell. So, I took a hiatus of four years and worked on my second film only when I was convinced about the story.
Lastly, what do you make of controversies breaking out over a movie’s title because certain groups claim that it is hurting religious sentiments?
For me this is a non-issue. My movie has already been released in Maharashtra and there no one complained. You will understand the title when you watch the film. Here I would also like to add that in a country like India these things are bound to happen and whenever such issues come up concerned people should fight it out.