Indian Cinema Features
Ratnam goes by film content, not genre
By Subhash K. Jha Mar 26, 2007, 4:43 GMT
Mumbai, March 26 (IANS) Director Mani Ratnam, who is not sure if he will make another biopic after 'Guru', stresses that he takes on a project if he sees 'a film in it not because it fits into a particular genre'.
'Will I do more biopics? I don't know. If a character is exciting enough to hold your attention for over a year and the audiences' attention for over two hours, then maybe it has movie potential,' Ratnam told IANS in an interview.
Asked why 'Guru' tended to subvert the reformist zeal as seen in films like 'Lage Raho Munnabhai', the filmmaker said his film was a reflection of today's reality.
'Some films offer hope. Some are reflections on life. I like both kinds of cinema. But when you reflect you should be willing to look at reality. 'Guru' isn't cynical. It's a reflection on today's reality.'
The director dismisses rumours about his next film 'Lajjo', starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor, being about an older man married to a young girl. He adds that the much-awaited film has been delayed to enable him to do 'effective pre-production' work.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. Do you think making biopics suit your creative purposes? Will you do more biopics if the opportunity arises?
A. When you take a project you do so because you see a film in it, and not because it fits into a particular genre. Will I do more biopics? I don't know. If a character is exciting enough to hold your attention for over a year and the audiences' attention for over two hours then maybe it has movie potential.
Q. Abhishek says he borrowed mannerisms from producer Vashu Bhagnani to play the role of Gurukant in 'Guru'. Are you aware of that?
A. The actor can borrow anything from anywhere as long as he or she brings a bit of himself or herself into the character. That is fine with me.
Q. Your next film 'Lajjo' is about a much older man married to a young girl. Isn't Aamir too young for the role?
A. Who says it is about a much older character with a younger woman?
Q. Why the delay in 'Lajjo'? People are speculating that it may never happen.
A. It was postponed from winter 2006 to winter 2007 so that I can do some effective pre-production.
Q. Are you satisfied with the way 'Guru' was received by the audience?
A. You don't have a choice in the matter. You better learn to take it whichever way the audience reacts. Your job is to make it as well as you can and then learn from their reactions.
Q. There are many unexplained segments in 'Guru' ... for example, who was Aishwarya's lover and why was she eloping with him?
Q. Why does everything have to be explained? People can have crushes before they get married. Aishwarya's character had such a crush. Why do you find it so difficult to accept? It's part of life and therefore part of cinema.
A. Vidya Balan and Madhavan's roles seem relatively nebulous. Did you deliberately choose to focus on only one character?
Q. Madhavan and Vidya's characters are according to me etched sharply. You are willing to accept smudgy characters if they twist and turn your plot but unwilling to accept defined roles seen through the life of a man. The focus was always on one man and the film is named after him. It is through him that the others are seen. And we have been as honest to that narration as possible.
Q. The reformist zeal as seen in 'Rang De Basanti' and 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' is subverted in 'Guru'. Your film says it's okay to bend rules, that idealism isn't the order of the day. Isn't that too cynical a view for mass consumption?
A. Do you want all films to uphold one particular ideology? Some films offer hope. Some are reflections on life. I like both kinds of cinema. But when you reflect you should be willing to look at reality. 'Guru' isn't cynical. It's a reflection on today's reality.
Q. The twins in 'Guru' are named Disha and Drishti. That's Amar Singh's twins' names. How did that happen?
A. I am stumped!
© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service