Here’s another expletive explosive. G**du — The Loser, a Bangla film by director Qaushiq Mukherjee, 37, is the latest to cause a frenzy over its abusive title. And, the asterisks there are only deliberate additions by us. It has been branded 'porn' or 'real cinema'. It might never make it to the cinema halls. Indian audience might not even understand it. But the man behind the film doesn't give a #@%$about these issues.
Mukherjee, who likes to call himself ‘Q’, has set the movie in the ‘realistic’ bylanes of Bengal, and suffused it with what he calls ‘real’ sex. “The film brings the most personal sexual experience onscreen. After the sex scene, the audience will be gasping for breath. This genre is known as ‘physical cinema’, where the audience has a physical reaction to the film. Feeling deliriously happy or horny, women getting wet, feeling pukish — it’s about depicting the personal, which is actually universal,” he says.
The movie, which is getting rave reviews at international festivals, is yet to face the censor board in India. But Mukherjee is ready to take the challenge head-on. “I don’t know what will happen, I’m willing to negotiate and work with the system. Constant criticism of the system should be within the system. My company and I will keep on developing films that challenge the system and speak a different language.”'Rage against Everyone'
Q, who was at the Escape music festival in Naukuchiyatal last week, is also a rapper who collaborated with Five Little Indians to create the ‘protest music’ for the film. "The main character’s anguish is expressed through songs. Every film that I make has music as a structural device not just an ornament. It gives me a sense of pace of the film and the environment." he says.
'The idea of a hero is dead'
While Bollywood is obsessed with beautifying reality with its exotic locales, designers wear, Q's film is set in the realistic bylanes of Bengal. "You can't compare my film with Bollywood - which has no substantial content. And as far as the question of reality goes, I don't believe in reality. Reality is just one moment when you find yourself wondering about reality." Almost like a James Joyce-ian protagonist, the doped out 'loser' spews cuss words at the drop of a hat, and loiters around shit holes talking existential dilemmas. So is the film glorifying filth in the name of reality and showing Gandu- as the new-age hero? Q is indignant at this, "I didn't want to portray a hero, the idea of a hero is dead."
'Nudity no issue for my actors'
Ecstatic about his experience with the actors he says, "Anubroto worked out very well, to I didn't know. I saw him I was like he is Gandu," he laughs, "My actors are super cool, unlike the Bombay actors. Film actors are not even actors, they are stars and what do they know about acting. Actors should be able to do anything to get under the skin of the character. Nudity is never an issue."
'I didn't make this film for anyone'
With Bollywood tamasha the staple for Indians, the audience might find this gritty offering hard to digest. But the director is positive about the reception; "The audience isn't as dull and uninteresting as we think. Didn't we freak out with everything that has happened in India in the past ten years? I'm not bothered about those kinds of issues. I didn't make this film for anyone. Cinema is an exercise for communication, whether you communicate to one or many."
'A post-modernist film'
With credits rolling halfway through the film, the director himself appearing in the film with a camera - there is a suspension of belief, a jolt to the viewer to detach himself from the film and re-assess reality. Along with the content, the film has also raised eyebrows for its structure. Q, who was inspired by international directors like Mike Figgis, Lars Vontrier, Harmony Korine agrees that the film has classic, modern and postmodern narrative techniques in place, "This form has a long history. The 90s movement in Europe saw a migration of film to video and this was more of a political statement than just changing the medium. As an Indian artist I have come up with my theory of deconstruction.