Shoojit Sircar has earned himself an illustrious filmography, with movies such as Vicky Donor (2012), Piku (2015) and Pink (2016) to his credit. And now, the film-maker has come up with his first short film, #ReleaseThePressure, which talks about the pressure children go through during exam season. In an interview with HT, Sircar talks about his career, the short film, and spending more than a decade in Bollywood.
Why did you decide to make a short film this time?
It was always on my mind. Ritu Sharda (writer) told me about the concept, and I thought that it was a good idea. It was also the right time to make the film, since it is exam season now. Many people understand the issue and want to talk about it, but nothing’s happening. So, when I was approached by Mirinda about how they also wanted to push the same concept, we thought about an idea to go about [telling the story]. We invited hundreds of students to send us open letters telling us what they think, and were shocked to hear their grievances. I used some excerpts from those letters for the script. If you go on the Internet, you will see that it’s a big menace in the contemporary Indian society.
Do you identify with the issue (dealt in your short film) as a parent too?
Absolutely. One thing is performance pressure wherein you personally want to perform well. And then, there is pressure from people around you to perform. In fact, when you talk to doctors, 99 per cent of your problems come from pressure and stress. And it has also come to light that even young teenage students are getting afflicted with diabetes and depression.
Do you feel film-makers can help send a message through their entertaining films?
Yes, of course. Cinema leaves a deep impact on the society. As creative people and entertainment film-makers, we have to be responsible at some point as we are also the conscious citizens of this country.
Do your films always carry a direct or an indirect message?
I never try and send messages through my feature films; it’s always naturally woven in and comes through on its own, as that’s the way I think about society. Those are the kind of worlds I have lived in, so I don’t try very hard. But for this short film, the idea was to get the message out.
Watch #ReleaseThePressure I Shoojit Sircar
You have spent almost 12 years in Bollywood…
I am lucky that I am surviving in the industry despite the kind of films I have made, which are absolutely unconventional (laughs). Even I had thought that such films would never work. So, it’s a big gift that I am still surviving, thanks to the industry and audiences. They let me be and make films on my terms. I am grateful to the industry and people who love cinema.
It’s rumoured that Ranbir Kapoor will star in your next project, a biopic on Udham Singh?
I don’t know where that news came from. Ranbir is a dear friend and we definitely want to work together, but it’s not true. We play football and spend a lot of time discussing cinema, but nothing of that sort is happening.
You entered the industry 12 years ago. Still, you haven’t made a lot of films…
Six years out of the 12 years went into one film (Shoebite). So, I couldn’t make any other film and I didn’t do anything else. Given a chance, I want to make ‘quick’ films. Unless, I am happy and satisfied with scripts that I want to take up, especially, since writing is the most important part of my films, I am not in a hurry to make films. I don’t want to create a factory [of films]. So, I will take my own time in doing films. It doesn’t matter even if I am slow or fast as long as my films are honest and carries my integrity.
You are also producing films. Is it tough to manage so many things?
It’s difficult, but producing wasn’t on my agenda. I didn’t come here [film industry] to be a producer. My partner, Ronnie Lahiri produces films for our company. I don’t want to become a producer as such. We want to produce our own films. And I only work as a producer with my close friends.
We have heard that you can leave films for football.
Yes, any day. If someone tells me, ‘playing football for a club is your main job and so, you can travel around the globe to play the game, I will go ahead with it (laughs).’ That will be my first choice and films will take a back seat. And I can do that.
Follow @htshowbiz for more.