. The whole year round, we hear of movies and stars going to, being selected for, and winning awards at various global festivals - but I'm not sure most of us, the writers included, quite understand the comparative relevance or magnitude.
At some subconscious level, we club all "international" recognition at the same plane, including most of the media..
. Forget the media, our industry doesn't have a clue! That whole market works in a certain way; they don't have a clue how it works.
Right. So you're being talked about in the Cannes context.
What's the big deal? What exactly is Cannes about? It's very simple. There are four official sections, which are the competitive ones and the ones where movies are selected on merit (it's rather complex for a layperson to understand).
And there's a common award across all the four categories, which is the Camera d'Or. First-time filmmaker, kisi bhi category mein, Camera d'Or ke liye eligible hota hai, which is the first-time filmmaker award - jo Salaam Bombay ko mila tha, which changed Meera's life.
So these are the four categories. And then there's the Market - the Marche du Film.
For the Market, anyone can go. A random Kanti Shah can also go to a Market.
All he has to do is pay money for it, and book a screening, to sell the film. So India se jo filmein jati hain, hamesha Market mein jaati hain (laughs), which is simply a paid screening.
And we keep saying 'It's been selected for..
'It's been selected for'. And the Red Carpet people go to, which we make so much fuss about, is sponsored by some brands which support the festival; like Chivas supports it, L'Oreal supports it.
So that appearance is that kind of a thing. What you're saying is they're not going as 'film people' in their own right? They're not; they're going as brand ambassadors.
There's a slot for L'Oreal, or Chivas, whosoever they bring, will walk. And they use it for their advertising.
Cannes never uses those pictures. You'll never find it on the Cannes sites.
So yahaan pe kya hota hai, anybody who's going to Cannes, we say, they are walking the Red Carpet. Red Carpet toh, hamare IFFI (International Film Festival of India) mein bhi hota hai (laughs).
Carpet ka colour red hota hai! It's all a media thing. Officially, India se, pichle nau saal mein - iss saal chaar jaa rahi hain - aur ek Udaan gayi thi.
Aur kabhi koi film hi nahi select hui hai! Officially. Films have been selected by filmmakers of Indian origin or something to do with India, like Chatrak gayi thi, by a Sri Lankan filmmaker, but shot in India.
Partly funded by an Indian. So those kinds of things have happened.
But a very Indian film has hardly ever gone there. So there's no correlation between big money, superstars, and recognition at such events, right? Hum log bohot kam paison mein banate hain.
Gangs of Wasseypur studio-funded hai. If I'm directing, I get funded by the studio.
If I am producing, newcomers, they don't get funded by the studio. Because of our various festival things, today I don't need a studio to fund an independent movie.
I get money from Germany, from France. Like Peddlers, they made it with money on Facebook.
We just put it out that we need partners, giving 10 lakh each. In two days, we had the money that we needed.
So, the movie has become a fund. So that when it goes to Cannes and gets sold, they get returns.
And they get a co-producer credit. It's like how Reliance started.
That's the only way. Go to like-minded people who want this kind of cinema, to give you money, so that you can keep making this kind of cinema.
I don't need a studio, I don't need a star. We're making a film called Lunchbox; Germany gave us 100,000 Euros.
I have learnt this the hard way and we have consistently been delivering. Because we are representing India on the international platform, with a regularity over the last four years - we have been at every festival.
If you look at Cannes, out of the four films selected, three are ours. Udaan was also ours.
So the maximum representation is going from us. They trust us.
Now we are doing co-production - the man who made No Man's Land, we are co-producing his next film. The Brazilian government is announcing a co-production, which I am co-producing, for a Brazilian filmmaker in Columbia, which is co-produced by Oscar-winning Walter Salus.
And I co-produced Michael Winterbottom's Trishna . Now any international film coming to India, they want to work with us.
What happens is, most of the festivals, distributors don't want to deal with Indians. Because the first question Indians ask is kitna doge? That's the only question they know how to ask.
Inka diaspora ka market hai na. So then this is the biggest year, in that sense, if you're saying four.
Yes. This is the biggest year so far for India in the history of Cannes, because itni filmein ek saath kabhi nahin gayin.
Jab Ray ki film jaati thi, toh ek Ray ki jaati thi, ya ek Mrinalda ki gayi thi. This time, we have Gangs Of Wasseypur, parts one and two, if you count them as two, otherwise it's one.
So there's Gangs of Wasseypur, Peddlers, Miss Lovely, and Kalpana restored, Cannes Classic mein. Kalpana jo Martin Scorsese ne restore ki hai, the Indian film of Uday Shankar, 1948 mein jo bani thi.
Yeh print kho gaya tha jo bahar ke aadmi ne sponsor kiya hai (laughs), and actually if you see, there's a guy that nobody in media is talking about, is Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Raj Singh Dungarpur's son, ad filmmaker, who's become part of the restoration process, who found Kalpana. He's the one who is funding the restoration of the next Hitchcock film, from his own hard-earned advertising money.
He's become part of the organisation. Whose achievement the media has completely skipped.
Nobody knows. Shivendra Singh Dungarpur has gone ahead and done something nobody's doing.
He's restoring old Indian classics. He's got Satyajit Ray's Ghatak, they're all being restored because of this one man's effort.
He's doing something incredibly great. Media doesn't know what restoration is, media doesn't know how it matters, media doesn't know what it takes, how it is done in this one place in Italy.
Media doesn't know these things. They'll ask him, 'achha aap restoration kar rahe hain.
aap Scorsese se mile?' (laughs). There is a power hierarchy in the industry? Absolutely.
It's always been there, in any industry. It's everywhere.
Yes, but this is seen as a very loosely structured, organic, symbiotic activity..
. Yeah, it is, but the hierarchy, it is in the very nature of our country.
It's like growing up, you know, you talk like that. If your boss' son comes around, he's treated differently.
When a girl is looking for a groom, what matters is whose son it is, what's his surname, which family he belongs to, rather than what does the groom do? It holds true in every walk of our life. Because if we were not like that, we wouldn't have, you know.
If you see, every politician's son often ends up taking the same portfolio his father did, in this country. And he becomes eligible simply by being his son.
So that's the country we live in. So why crib if it happens in cinema? Yeah.
Cinema mein it's just more obvious and every day in the papers. But it's in every walk of life.
You go anywhere. So with somebody like you, whose dad is not there to give you a foothold in the industry, how much longer does it take to make your own niche? In today's time, it might not take long if you have talent.
When I came into the industry, your survival depended entirely on what you were doing and what you were achieving. Today, the monies are different, there's a huge amount of money in television, people get employed very easily.
And the hunger dies out easily. We were starving for a long time, hence that passion and the drive was much more.
Today, the drive is immediately controlled with substance. The money flows in very quickly.
? Money flows in very quickly, the material satisfaction comes in very fast. So that, hunger is not sustained long enough, that material cannot satisfy it.
You mean they get they get the first BMW and they've arrived..
. They get the first car, the first house, very soon, and then they live for the EMIs.
The EMIs take over their lives. Somehow that sustenance or hunger is not there anymore.
And the passion today, be it cinema, be it anything, is about what one can do with a form, but the fact is, 90% of them actually don't have anything to say. They have already decided the form and they're trying to fit into the context.
Especially television? Especially television. They are thinking from, 'this is an established format, and what do I do within those five different genres, to fit into it.
' You're like, ok, 'I also have a story like this back home, I'll put that story.' But it's essentially the same story.
So people have less to say today. But there is money also available for new ideas.
Today the money is available, and today technology has made making a film cheaper. Today, people are making films in 10 lakh, 2 lakh, 5 lakh.
The whole indie movement, which is actually not at the surface right now. People don't know about it right now because none of it has so far broken through.
But there's tons of films being made, at such low costs. One film that broke through in the very small indie festivals was Kshay, which is trying to release on the 15th of June.
But made for 15 lakh, 10 lakh, 20 lakh, very powerful films. People are shooting on small go-pro cameras and everything, with actors who are working for free, with 3g and 4g the short film format, there's a huge movement there.
People are making these incredible short films, which they are watching among themselves, and this whole lot of new generation, college students, who are always on YouTube , are passing those films around. I'm just waiting for it to explode.
It will explode. The moment it becomes, uhh, broadband, free flow broadband to everywhere, it will break through.
Where's the money in it? There is right now no money it. Tomorrow, with broadband, the guy who'll create content will be king.
Abhi unhone piracy band karva diya, now they will slowly start making revenue out of it. Because of piracy they could not add revenue to it.
People will start paying, and they are minuscule amounts. For small amounts, 30 bucks, short films you can watch for 10 rupees, so with that, in volume, there'll be more people downloading it and keeping it in their digital libraries.
It's affordable prices. The price of a small Coke bottle.
Today most of these alcohol brands, and all the brands that are not allowed to advertise, they used music earlier, to advertise themselves - surrogate advertising. Now they're using these short films.
If you see, all of them. You go on the site of any of these alcohol brands, they have these short films, using the brand, and they spread it out.
So there's a different kind of a democracy that will start operating there. But most of the Bollywood industry is not thinking about that.
There's a new audience being formed, which will not want to go to a theatre, and (will) watch the film on their laptop. And world over they have already started catering to that audience.
In India, they have just begun, and people who have begun are these tech savvy guys who've got nothing to do with creativity. Which is why it's not working, because there's a big gap there, a big chasm.
They have created formats, they've created platforms, but they don't know how to access these creative people. You were recently asked that you make very dark cinema, and you replied that when you go international, people tell you that you make very light cinema, and you should go darker! That's a very relative thing na, it's extremely relative.
Because people often ask me, why do you do this kind of work? My thing is aap bahar jao, toh aam baat hai, log realistic cinema banate hain. Ham log itna zyada fantasy world create karte hain, ki uske comparison mein I start to seem like too dark and too real.
But if you actually compare it to too dark and too real, then you'll suddenly find a kind of softness in my films! I even use music..
. There's a frequent argument one hears, which essentially is that without the five song sequences and the whole melodrama, it's not really Indian.
this is 'Indian cinema', so why should we ape the West? So the moment you're making a 'realistic movie'..
yeah, it becomes aping the West . Matlab, someone tell me, the realistic movie is set in India, it is shot India, it's about India.
How can it be aping the West? Does that argument, that we should actually celebrate our song and dance model of cinema, hold? We should! I'm saying we should. But we should not negate what the other things are.
Today, what Marathi and Tamil cinema have achieved, it is much more than what Bollywood can achieve. There are more Marathi films in a year, that you can talk about, which are represented internationally, than Hindi.
There's a whole new wave in Marathi led by these two boys - Girish Kulkarni, the actor/writer, and Umesh Kulkarni. Mainstream doesn't hear about it.
Marathi people are very proud about it. There's a whole lot of new wave in Tamil.
These Madurai filmmakers..
. my first card in Wasseypur.
my film is dedicated to the Madurai triumvirate. People have changed Tamil cinema, worked against the system.
Bala, Amir Sultan, Rasi Kumar, Vetrimaran - who's won the National Award, they've made the most extraordinary films in the last two years, and at the national level people don't even know about it. Kumar Raja, who won the National Award for best debut filmmaker - his film never went outside Tamil Nadu.
These are the people who are changing things, and they're also very cut off. So when international scouts come looking for films from India, they never reach Chennai.
And those guys also don't understand international festivals. How will that change? See, things are changing.
Till now, distributors have had this very interesting formula of discovering which film will work, based on who's in it. That's very easy - film mein Akshay Kumar hai, film ki utni opening lagegi.
So there's a whole lot of journalists and trade people whose survival depends on this system. Now, a Vicky Donor, Paan Singh Tomar works, they suddenly don't know how to do, what to do, because they can't judge a script.
They can't judge a film without knowing who's in it. So they feel threatened, so they have to keep that philosophy sustained.
So they keep sustaining that, and they are supposed to be the experts..
. Ok, so non-star movies working - that will change the equilibrium? Yes.
It'll change the equilibrium. New media houses coming in, new TV channels coming in, they want a voice from the film industry who's an 'expert', so they often get these same people.
So these same people are brought in, and they keep sustaining the philosophy. Koi progress hoga hi nahin.
'Great opening'. Today a common man on the streets talks about 'iss film ki itni opening lagi thi'.
Nobody talks about content any more. A man on the streets knows iss film ne sau karod kamaye, toh film automatically great ho gayi.
So common aadmi jab yeh baat karne lag jata hai, it becomes even more difficult for the other kind of cinema to survive. Whereas in Tamil Nadu, most of the films that have changed things have not had stars, and have been declared hits in the sixth or seventh week.
Marathi cinema does not have a star system. It's only content that sells.
The director has become the star - people start trusting a director, ki iski film aayegi. That is quintessential Hollywood , in a sense.
Yeah, quintessential European, Hollywood, everywhere. The director is the man who makes the film.
Usmein the only way you can survive is consistency, and frequency. For me, the only method to survive was ki consistently ek ke baad ek film banate jaao, saal mein ek-do release honi zaroori hai.
If I'm not directing, I should at least be producing a film, so then, I'll be on(less)