He might come across as a serious filmmaker dealing with serious topics but Sudhir Mishra has an undeniable hint of laughter in his voice. And he doesn’t pretend to hide it. The grey-haired award-winning director who started his career three decades ago with Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron is upbeat about his next, which deals with sexual exploitation. In a candid chat with us, Sudhir talks about making his kind of cinema…
As a filmmaker, what is the biggest challenge you face?
I don’t and I can’t allow myself to judge the characters in my film. I can only let them be even if they are prostitutes or rebels or social outcasts. It’s a challenge in itself.
Is it a conscious decision to make issue-based films?
(Pauses) I make films for human beings. As simple as that! And our species has inherent issues but to categorise them into this and that doesn’t help. Was Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi a film about Naxalism or idealism or love? My job is to tell you stories and I’m a political person by nature. It doesn’t mean I want to join politics but I’m more interested in knowing how a society functions and traditions control us.
Do you see yourself breaking the mould someday by coming up with a lighter movie?
I’d love to make an action film or a comedy, for that matter. But I want to make action as an emotion, not a visual joke where actors fall down like junior artistes. Similarly, I’d love to do a fun movie with a strong base.
Do you look beyond Chitrangada Singh while casting?
Haven’t I done Chameli with Kareena (Kapoor) and Tera Kya Hoga Johnny with Soha (Ali Khan)? Besides, I don’t cast Chitrangada in all my films. However, if Chitrangada is terrific and fits the role, then why shouldn’t I take her?
Has the recent Delhi rape incident added relevance to your upcoming film?
Well, whatever happened was very horrible but the silver lining here is people are finally waking up. I may not agree with everything activists say but what I find interesting is the middle class wants to be treated as adults, not kids. Coming back to my film, a filmmaker’s job is to capture elements and pass it to the audience.
Why do most Bollywood films not deal with the corporate world?
We usually make a movie devoid of place and specificities. It has to be universal. However, there are different styles of filmmaking and each director has his own. Younger filmmakers capture these specifics in a more detailed format. For instance, the world of an IAS officer was accurately showcased in Shanghai like never before. Trends are basically changing.