His greying locks belie his young age. Anand Gandhi quips that his debut feature film made him old. The director, 32, seems upbeat about the theatrical release of his much-acclaimed Ship of Theseus. However, he has points to drive home. In a candid chat, the filmmaker interprets cultural evolution in terms of ready-to-drink beverages.
How far has Indian cinema come today?
In our country, cinema is not seen from a cultural prism. That’s our greatest loss. In the rest of the world, films teach us how to lead a better life and be a better citizen, if not a better human. Yes, there are few instances where our films do that. However, in most cases, the audiences are under-informed. And then we blame them for finding enriching movies unpalatable. It’s a case of sugar cola and carrot juice. The former is palatable but the latter is enriching.
You aren’t a fan of Bollywood...
The truth is, it doesn’t excite me. It meant something to me till I was 15. Later, I grew up but Hindi films didn’t. I’m an adult now unfortunately and I wish to see cinema that treats me as one and not someone with teenage issues. As a result, when a film with an iota of honesty comes along, we are excited about it even though it might be just a derivative of a derivative of a derivative. Indians are inherently lazy and Bollywood profits from them.
What kind of profit?
The question is how do ‘we’ define profit. We need to understand that hundreds of commercial films made in our country go to trash can. But still, people are willing to make them. On the contrary, the films made beyond the ambit of commercialism have earned profit in the past three years. This was about money. Now, what about the nutritional value of a film? Once the weekend box-office drama is over, what next? Whenever people are going to watch these films on TV or on PC, are they going to gain something at all? There is short-term profit and then there’s long-term profit.
Kiran Rao is presenting your film. When exactly did she step into the picture?
A month after MAMI, there was this small event called the Naya Film Festival where Kiran Rao watched my film. After the screening, when I went over to her, she invited me to her place to discuss cinema. Within a short period of time, we became dear friends. Later, I proposed the idea of her presenting my film. I thought who could be better than her with her knowledge and infrastructure to take my project forward. She liked the idea.
Can we expect you two to collaborate again in other projects in the future?
Very much. We totally enjoy working with each other. The thing I admire the most about her is she’s always curious and driven by ideas. I’m also excited about the possibility of writing her next feature film. Similarly, I want her to be a part of whatever I’m working on.