Anurag Basu in an interview talks about taking Barfi! beyond Hindi audience, the non-linear narration and how Kites is much his film as Barfi! Read on for a peep into this man's peace space.
Well, I've to confess we're toying with the idea of putting out an English version of the film. I can't say much about that right now. Let's see. The film has been to the Busan and Marrakesh film festivals. The only reason it isn't at the Toronto Film Festival is because we were too busy releasing the film worldwide to take it to Toronto. But those sections of non-Indian viewers who have seen
say it has the potential to break through the language barrier.
Yes, I think so. After my illness I wrote other darker films namely
. But I think
is my coming-of-age film. It's not a perfect film. But this is my most personal film.
I think we give too much importance to words in our cinema. Surely there has to be a difference between radio plays and cinema! I'd have had even less dialogues. But since there was a complicated crime involved in the storytelling I had to offer explanations through voiceovers by Ileana D'Cruz and Saurabh Shukla. But not for a minute did I feel handicapped because Ranbir had no dialogues. In my earlier films too I've experimented with a lot of silences.
Don't blame the editing. That's how I wrote the screenplay. I realized during writing that the storytelling was getting complicated because of the time travel. I tried to make the story linear. But it wasn't working. See,
is a very simple story. If I had kept the narrative linear then I'd have lost my audience. I think if I had removed the non-linear narrative you wouldn't have enjoyed the film. I know Indian viewers get disturbed by non-linear narrations. I wrote
straight. But it was boring that way. So I apologize to all those who were put off by the non-linear narrative.
I've to confess it was a lonely journey. I had no reference points. It was like entering a dark tunnel. I just pushed through. While shooting we had lots of fun.
. Yes, it took me 10 days to get a hang of the subject since it is a completely new genre. We even re-shot the initial portions.
You know I don't know why
are credited to me. The former I gave up, and the latter I fell ill and left.
I am not going to change my priorities after
. And to say I am the most original is not correct. I'd give the credit for doing an original get-happy film to Raj Kumar Hirani long before I made
I don't know about that. I haven't seen it.
1970s were magical for me. Those were the times of Rajesh Khanna's movies and his songs, and my Mom and Dad romancing one another. When I think of romance, I think of the 1970s. I was born in 1974. So I grew up in that era of romance. I wanted a 30-year span for the characters' love to grow.
Very romantic. When in
Ileana says she wants to die with the man she loves, that was my mom speaking. After my father passed away my mother didn't want to live anymore. When my
passed away after my
, we didn't mourn. We celebrated their uniting again.
If you spend time with differently abled people you will get over the notion that they're unhappy suffering souls. Please don't pity them. They find happiness in the smallest of things. They celebrate life constantly. Normal people take longer to be happy. For me this was a given from the start: they had to be happy.
It's so ironical that we Indian filmmakers get complimented when our actors give credible performances. Isn't that a given for any film? I think my actors trusted me with what I had in mind. Priyanka shed her vanity completely.
Priyanka never knew the role would shape up the way it did. Her role was always small but special. Ileana's character was always the main female protagonist. And she is very good. And I hadn't gone to anyone else with Priyanka's role.
was never a reference point. But I love that film. It's one of my favourites. So maybe subconsciously I was influenced. In
Sridevi was like a 10-year old child. Priyanka is not a child in my film.
I won't even try to deny it. Even before Ranbir started I told him to watch Chaplin's silent films. There's a definite influence of Chaplin in Ranbir's character.
When I saw
I pointed this out to Imtiaz. I asked him why he hadn't told me. Even Ranbir who was common to both didn't point out the similarity to me. But it's there.
Ranbir and I are committed to make the Kishore Kumar biopic together. That will take some time. So in the meanwhile I am making a small film.
Not in idea and thought. But in budget. It would be a positive happy film. But you can't slot me as a happy filmmaker. I consciously try to make different films each time.
Ha ha. I am proud of
too. And I am not being diplomatic. It wasn't so bad. It's my film. I don't disown it. True, it was made in the democratic spirit and the producer Rakesh Roshan was also present during the shooting. But I called the shots.
is as much my film as