Ajitha Suchitra Veera refuses to adhere to the existing mindset in the film industry and will not take craftsmanship for granted
When she was addressed as a 'female director' at the beginning of this conversation, she shot back saying, "Do you address all men in this field as male directors?" FTII graduate Ajitha Suchitra Veera's short film Notes on Her was India's official entry to the Oscars back in 2003.
Ajitha Suchitra Veera
Almost a decade later, she is back with her debut feature film Ballad of Rustom. She not only wrote, produced and directed it but also edited and did the production designing, not to mention, extensive collaboration on the music score.
Ballad of Rustom is set in contemporary India caught in the throes of politics, passion and dreams. Though the title clearly suggests that the movie is about a character named Rustom, she's not willing to divulge further.
Except that the main protagonist is based on her own life experiences and in many ways, the distinct individuals she had the privilege of knowing.
Ajitha has shot the entire film with a 35 mm camera to avoid compromising on the visual imagery. In a digital age, she chose negative cutting an old practice almost out of fashion now to maintain her artistic integrity. In her words, "I have to give shape to my vision without having to bend my own rules."
Her views on Bollywood are pretty harsh but substantial. She calls the whole industry "utopia around stars and their dynasties" but feels it will eventually have to adapt to changes.