Thursday, November 19, 2015

Director's Cut: In conversation with Sudhish Kamath

As part of our Directors' Cut series today, we bring you a conversation with friend, film critic and filmmaker Sudhish Kamath, who talks about his upcoming film X - Past is Present. X brings together 11 film-makers with diverging perspectives. Sudhish tells us what drove him to make this film, what went into making it and why it isn't your routine Hindi cinema. The much-awaited film, which was in the works for 2 years, finally hits the screens tomorrow. 

Starring: Rajat Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Swara Bhaskar, Radhika Apte
Direction: Sudhish Kamath, Abhinav Shiv Tiwari, Anu Menon, Hemant Gaba, Nalan Kumarasamy, Pratim D. Gupta, Qaushiq Mukherjee, Raja Sen, Rajshree Ojha, Sandeep Mohan, Suparn Verma.
Production: Drishyam Films, Manish Mundra
Music: Sudeep Swaroop
Releases: Nov 20, 2015

What X is about...
X is made by eleven very different filmmakers including me. They narrate one story. A story of a filmmaker who meets a mysterious girl who reminds him of eleven women from his past in one night. And each ex-girlfriend is explored as a different genre by a different filmmaker.

How was the film conceived...
The journey started with an idea I got while moderating the Film track at The Goa Project (TGP). I wanted to get a few filmmakers together and see if we can create something over a period of two days. Because I had just the idea for such a film. A film about a filmmaker revisiting the memory of each ex as a genre. And the more I thought about it, the more I realised it was an idea that needed professional filmmakers than participants of an unconference who were on a holiday. I pitched it to a few people including my friend Shiladitya Bora, who was one of the keynote speakers at TGP.

He happened to be at Rajat Kapoor’s place having lunch with the producer of Ankhon Dekhi Manish Mundra when that film was getting made and casually pitched it. Mr. Mundra was hooked and agreed to come on board almost instantly.

How long did it take to make it...
The idea originally conceived as a two-day experiment took us two and a half years to the finish line.

Not because it was difficult to make the movie. That’s the easy part. The difficult part is to make it to the theatres.

And that depends on a whole lot of factors.

Luckily, we had Drishyam Films and Manish Mundra believe in the film and take care of all those factors including prohibitively high print and advertising costs. They have had to spend three times the production cost on marketing the film.

So I just hope Manish Mundra and Drishyam Films are rewarded for the risks taken out of their commitment to invest in a small experimental film that had no original intention of becoming as big as it seems today with 265 shows every day.

Why we should watch X...
India has so many different kinds of cinema. The commercial filmmakers look down at indie filmmakers. Indie filmmakers think commercial guys sell out. Regional filmmakers think you have to go local to go global while global filmmakers believe local filmmakers are too rooted in their worlds to actually be able to cross over. Then there are underground filmmakers and mainstream filmmakers at two opposite ends of the spectrum.

We've rarely seen all these different kinds of Indian cinema in one film. Because not every story offers the opportunity to explore the different genres in modern Indian cinema.

X, then, hopefully is a bridge between the different cinemas of India, one that tells us that the language of film is a lot more powerful than the spoken language or the native tongue.

It takes all kinds to make the world an exciting place.

It took eleven of us filmmakers to make a film as exciting as this. We love what we have made and cannot wait for you to watch it.

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