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Sudhir Mishra Chats With Kiran Joneja On The Art Of Storytelling And His Unique Perspective On Filmmaking

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Jyothi Venkatesh

A fresh new session of the virtual chat series ‘Insider Talk’ by actress Kiran Joneja in association with Ramesh Sippy Academy of Cinema and Entertainment (RSACE) and Ramesh Sippy Entertainment (RSE) featured esteemed filmmaker Sudhir Mishra who has directed many films with path breaking concepts and unique storytelling. Sudhir Mishra pioneered the alternative Indian Cinema Movement and now completing over 30 years in the Indian film fraternity, he is one of the celebrated directors and storytellers in India. Kiran Joneja spoke about how he is known for his unique perspective in filmmaking and asked him why he chose to make such different kinds of films as opposed to what was more commercial and sellable. “You have to make films which you are naturally inclined towards making.

You have to find those ideas that you truly resonate with, those styles that are different and only you can execute, the kind of film that only you can make. Filmmaking as an art has both arrogance and humility. Arrogance because you need to be confident about your work. You need to know that even if there are already a lot of players out there, your effort will be worth it. And humility because even if your work is appreciated, you shouldn’t let it get to your head you need to work with the same grit all over again for your next project. So they’re both sides of the same coin.” Said the director.

Sudhir Mishra’s family belongs to an academic and political background and had no connections or contacts in the film industry whatsoever. Upon being asked about how his parents reacted to him wanting to venture into films, he said, “My father was an academician, but he was fond of films. In fact, he was the one who made me watch all these different films as a kid. I watched a lot of Dara Singh movies while growing up.” Kiran Joneja being the Managing Director at RSACE also brought forth the concern that many young aspirants who come from a family with no film background , how do they convince their parents who are skeptical about the film industry and worried for their child’s future. “So, my family never objected to my choice as such but yes, they were extremely worried about the fact that we didn’t have any contacts in the film industry, I was absolutely new. I believe every parent at some point worries about this, it’s a little natural. But, you can gradually garner their confidence by showing them your work. Explaining to them how passionate you are. Eventually if you’re doing well, they’re gonna know it and understand.”

Speaking about How films,while being an artistic field, involves a lot of commercialism was touched upon.”You should be in cinema if you’re passionate about it. People make commercial movies, the kind that everyone would watch, the kind that would be blockbusters and then there are some who make the kind of stuff they enjoy, the stories that they really want to tell. Even for me, Calcutta Mail didn’t do so well commercially.

I was working on Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi and in between that I made Calcutta Mail because I really wanted to, I believed in that story at that point and was very passionate about it but Hazaaron Khwaishein did way better at the box office.” He went on to add “The industry is not for the faint hearted. There are ups and downs because this is art. So at times you make a great film, people love it but at times people don’t like it so much. So yes it’s a tough field but it’s also very forgiving in the sense that you can always recover from your failures and learn from them and then try again.”

Kiran Joneja highlighted how the entertainment industry is treated differently in comparison with the corporate industry or any other field of work. The norms and provisions vary. “I agree. In fact I’ve always wondered why there is an entertainment tax levied. I mean why would you charge people for having themselves entertained. A cinema theatre is a public space where people enjoy, relax, feel refreshed at the end of the week, the amount of tax that is levied is extremely heavy.” Said Sudhir Mishra . Sudhir Mishra’s stories are always unique, and depict a very unusual perspective to things.

On being asked about where he picks his subjects up from, he said, “There’s a Persian saying;  the best story is the one that combines what you have seen and heard from what has happened to you. You may not have experienced the exact same thing as the story you wish to tell but you can relate to it because you’ve surely experienced something similar. We all experience terrifying and beautiful things. They might not be the same as the story you’re trying to narrate, but with your experience you give it your own twist and you look at it from a different perspective. And that’s the perspective you show to the audience. Because otherwise there have been so many films made on the same concepts. It all depends on the flair you add to the film, from what you have seen and observed in your own life.”

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