iconimg Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Shalvi Mangaokar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, September 25, 2012
Barfi! becoming India’s official entry for the Oscars has raised some eyebrows in B-Town. There is talk about the film being directly borrowed from Charlie Chaplin’s brand of cinema. Director Anurag Basu clears the air.

Do you genuinely believe that Barfi! deserves to be India’s official entry to the Oscars?
I may sound arrogant saying this, but I do believe it. I haven’t seen the other nominations in that category, but I respect the jury’s decision to put forward this film. If they think it’s worth it, maybe it is.

There are certain parts in Barfi! that seem replicated from Charlie Chaplin’s films and the French film Amélie (2001).
I don’t think they’re replicas, to begin with. Before the film released, I had said that I have taken inspiration from Chaplin. I never hid that fact. If films like The Artist (2011) can take inspiration, why can’t we? Also, it’s a Disney UTV film. I had to sign a disclaimer before doing the film that it’s a completely original concept. If a Dev.D (2009) can be made out of Devdas, why can’t I take inspiration from Chaplin? It’s me paying homage to him.

But isn’t it too early to decide our Oscar nomination?
We still have three months until the year ends and other films are yet to release. This is the time to send out nominations. Every country has a cut off time to send their entries. It would be too late otherwise. And the Indian Film Federation thought Barfi! deserved it. The films that release now would be good, but they can go in for next year.

All the international entries in the foreign film category are original scripts, and they usually set very high standards. Do you think Barfi! stands a chance?
Like I said, Barfi! is an original script. Prestigious film festivals all over the world have applauded the film. I’m sure only cynical people are saying otherwise. All the jury members are efficient. They wouldn’t select an Oscar entry that is a copy.

Lastly, will you re-edit the film for the Oscars?
I haven’t decided upon that yet.