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Even a crappy Bollywood film passes off as indie: Anand Gandhi

Anand Gandhi became a household name after penning scripts for TV shows like Kyunki Saas Bhi... and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki. And now, the independent writer/director is all set to make his foray on the big screen. While his TV shows were the highest TRP grossers of their times, little wonder that Gandhi is confident of the fate of his very first feature film. Excerpts from an interview...

Anand Gandhi

Kyunki... and Kahaani... were in rage!
In my defence, I was 19 years old then! (Laughs) I really enjoyed writing for those shows even though I knew it was an unhealthy crap that was detrimental to our culture. I just wanted to prove to my folks and friends that I could do that too if I wanted to. What people don’t know is that I wrote some interesting plays during that same period of time.

Shekhar Kapur recently mentioned that he is a fan of your film...
He watched Ship of Theseus and also mentioned that it’s one of the few Indian films he had seen which have a global feel. He even quipped that he can retire peacefully now but in all honesty, I want him to continue making films.

Will you direct a mainstream Bollywood film ever?
Probably, not. But I’d definitely be part of films synonymous with ground realities without harming its creative integrity.

Do you see better days for independent cinema in India?
Everyone is independent here... unlike Hollywood, where films not affiliated to studios are called indie. It’s a clear economic model and has nothing to do with the content of the film. Here, things are so shady that even a crappy Bollywood film passes off as an indie film.

Would you call yours meaningful cinema?
What I feel is that we need to have relevant cinema. And it shouldn’t do what popcorn does to you: stimulate you for a brief period of time and then have a detrimental effect on your health. On the contrary, it should be like good literature that appeals to your very existence.

What are the factors that stop an independent filmmaker from a wide outreacher?
There are many including distribution, marketing and political to name a few. But coming back to basics, the junk is always going to sell no matter what. The biggest problem is to get an indie project across to those who are thirsting for it.

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