SHOOJIT SIRCAR – INDIA’S FINEST TALKS ABOUT HIS NEXT FILM, MADRAS CAFÉ
Posted by Vivek on August 6, 2013 | No Comments
He makes some of the most memorable films in India. Be it the first true authentic film, YAHAAN, or one of the biggest commercial success of 2012, VICKY DONOR, this Advertisement Film maker, lends a level of authenticity to his projects, that few have done before him. His films are in the perfect space of excellent content and wholesome entertainment. There is nothing senseless in his films and now we talk to Shoojit Sircar, on his upcoming movie, MADRAS CAFÉ, whose trailer is already promising, that we have another amazing feature on our hands:
Why Madras Café, what was so compelling about the subject?
A1) As a filmmaker, I am pretty well plugged in to the socio political happenings in India and clearly the Sri Lanka civil war had, in the past, had an impact on both Sri Lanka and India. Also I wanted to cover the subject of the Indian spy agency, but felt that the backdrop of India Pakistan had been overused. I wanted to present a story set in the backdrop of realism and the South of India, also presented a subject and a territory, that had rarely been used in features coming from India. Also the back drop of the Sri Lanka civil war, which of course now is over, with the back drop of a RAW agent, presented itself as a good opportunity for me, to weave a story and a film around. This idea generated in 2007-2008 and I started working on it, at that time. During that time, a film of mine with Mr Bachchan, called SHOEBITE, also named JOHNNY MASTANA, was made but was not getting released, so I decided to start working on the idea of Madras Café then. The film is about an Agent who is appointed by RAW and he is given some covert task during the Civil war, while the Indian Peacekeeping Forces are also there and how some routine covert operations leads to the discovery of a wide spread conspiracy. The film is a complete conspiracy and political thriller.
The one thing we appreciate about a Shoojit film is its adherence to authenticity in the subject matter, whether it is showing a war film, YAHAAN, or a film set in today’s time, VICKY DONOR, talk a little about that? Are we finally going to get a true portrayal of a RAW agent?
That’s interesting. While the world viewed VICKY DONOR as a comedy, to us it was a serious film which dealt with serious issues like Infertility, Childless couples, Divorcee remarriage, Mother In Law and Daughter In Law drinking together, etc. My upbringing is in theater in Delhi and I am still an active part of it, so what that brings to the table is, generally the kind of films that I do, is more content driven. Being content driven you are always conscious of the element of authenticity.
Your trailer for Madras Café, seems like a foreign film, which has been made in India ?
A3) See we have grown up watching International and American films and obviously we are influenced by it. It has always been said that Indian films have not been able to reach the standards set by Hollywood, in terms of capturing an environment. Of course within budgetary constraints, I tried to be as authentic as is possible, with the environment of the backdrop of a Civil War. While it appears international, once you see every sequence and every shot, you will find that it is quite rooted in India and also Sri Lanka. Most characters in the film speak Hinglish. So yes it has been shot slickly, but when you watch it in totality, it is very hardcore a film from this part of the globe (Sub continent). THE NEW TRAILER COMES UP ON AUGUST 12, 2013, SO LOOK OUT FOR THAT.
On your choice of John? A good screen presence, but acting has not been the forte?
Yes there has been speculation on why John. Before I say anything I just want to add that John will not disappoint, for sure. That has been a very important part in all my film, the character and the casting, and I am very aware of that. I took the script to a few actors, including John and he instantly agreed. He also was somewhat aware of the topic and my only condition was that he would have to tone down his look, since in the real world RAW agents blend in. You can never tell they are agents. So he needed to look the character in the film, as opposed to the larger than life superspy.
I know comparisons are not good, but let me take one, Chal Ve Buliya looks very interesting, is it the Paani Da of Vicky Donor, for Madras Café?
It is a beautiful song. Shantanu Moitra is known for a particular kind of music. This time he has challenged himself. We wanted to take it in a rock format. The writer of this song is Ali from Pakistan. The song is dedicated to a poetry by Rabindranath Togore, “Where The Mind Is Without Fear & The Head Is Held High…..”
Why does a Shoojit Sircar film not taken to Cannes, from India? Does that bother you? Cause it bothers us a lot.
It does not bother me, but I would love for my films to be in Cannes. Maybe I have not tried hard enough. Maybe I ‘ m just too happy and content with my audience here. There are a couple of projects that could be for cross borders. Why my films have not gone to Cannes, I don’t know, but I would love for them to go.