Although, a first time director, Bikas Ranjan Mishra has put his best foot forward and his film Chauranga, and it is making all the right noises at the festival circuit. First it won the Golden Gateway of India Award for Best Film at the 16th Mumbai Film Festival. It also took the grand jury prize for feature narrative at the Indian Film Festival Los Angeles.
As someone, who had never assisted an established director before, did he have any jitters? "Yes, I didn't assist anybody but I've been making short films for a while. Besides, I'm formally trained in filmmaking. Nevertheless, the scale of Chauranga was frightening at times, but I had a wonderful crew to back me up," says Mishra.
The director was once quoted saying, "Cinema isn't the medium of preaching or raising issues on the pretext of storytelling,". Why then did he make a film on the caste system in a rural belt instead of going for a story set in the cities? "I hink it's unfair to reduce Chauranga to a film on caste issue set in rural India. I also don't think a film on a story set in the cities cannot be preachy. I would still say that I didn't make Chauranga to raise an issue or to preach about the merits or demerits of a social system. All I wanted to do was to tell a story but the thing is when you tell a story about real people, issues concerning their lives naturally permeates it," says Mishra.
Now that the film has got two awards, does he feel any pressure for the film to do well commercially? Mishra says, "Well, pressure is only when you start to feel it. I feel none. Rejections, selections, awards and commercial success or failure are all part of the journey. I feel blessed that I met wonderful people along the way. Now, Chauranga has a life of its own and I'm sure, its journey is going to be a great one."
The film has been produced by Onir and Sanjay Suri.