“In present times, a filmmaker is not compelled to keep romantic songs in his film as it is not a marketing requirement,” said filmmaker, John Matthew Matthan while recalling that when he made ‘Sarfarosh’ in 1999, music was a big component in terms of revenue, even though he did not like the idea of having two romantic songs in the particular film.
Matthan, the chairperson of the jury for the Feature Film category of the Indian Panorama section of the ongoing 51st edition of the Internationals Film Festival of India was speaking as part of the virtual ‘In-Conversation’ session on the topic ‘Do You Have It?’ Speaking further about ‘Sarfarosh’, he stated that ‘Hoshwalon ko Khabar Kya’, the much-admired ghazal from ‘Sarfarosh’ was significant as it made a dual statement; firstly on the Indo-Pak situation and secondly on the love angle in the story. This ghazal was written by well-known Urdu poet, Nida Fazli. Matthan, a Malayali, loves Urdu poetry and said that he developed interest in it through his Muslim friends like the late actor, Shafi Inamdar. “Now, when I make ‘Sarfarosh 2’, I may keep lesser number of songs in it,” he said.
Matthan also noted that it is important for any filmmaker to understand the elements of sociology and politics. “I think a writer or director should be sensitive about the society,” he said, further maintaining that a filmmaker can put across his point without being offensive to anyone. Observing that “filmmaking is a risky business”, the filmmaker, who also made the film, ‘Shikhar’ (2005) starring Ajay Devgn stated that he has travelled all over India in search of content for his films.
Matthan had won the National Film Award for his Aamir Khan starrer, ‘Sarfarosh’. And sharing the iterative process, which he underwent while writing the script for the forthcoming sequel of ‘Sarfarosh’, the filmmaker informed that he wrote the script of ‘Sarfarosh 2’ about five to six times, before closing on it. “I wrote the script and kept it aside, then after five to six months, I started writing it again and came across new potholes in it,” he stated, adding that the fifth draft of ‘Sarfarosh 2’ script, is actually the final draft.
Revealing more about the script of ‘Sarfarosh 2’, Matthan said that it is about the internal security of India. “It shows how India’s security stands strong in spite of various problems”. The movie will be dedicated to the Central Reserve Police Force personnel, who bear the brunt of these problems.
The evolution of religion and how it has impacted the human race is a subject of liking for the filmmaker. He felt that life has become much easier now with access to the internet.
Matthan, speaking about his experience as the Indian Panorama jury said that he saw 180 films in this capacity, and realised how diverse we are. “India is a bubbling, active democracy, and this is a country to be embraced and loved,” he said.