Even a five-minute conversation with filmmaker Sudhir Mishra leaves you with the conclusion that he has a lot to say against the system. He waxes eloquent on how he “was thrown out of the so-called art film movement in the late ’70s and ’80s, which was all for some pseudo social cause”, or how “a film script is more important than individual charisma”.
For Mishra a film is a film, nothing more, nothing less.
“What is this art film or commercial film. At best you can differentiate in terms of films for a cause or those that are routine.” Then he opens up. “These guys (those who started the art film movement) even write off Satyajit Ray’s films,” he says.
That the director doesn’t hesitate to air his views also reflects in his films, be it the acclaimed Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi or Dharavi or Is Raat Ki Subaah Nahi or Chameli. The pain of not getting the recognition he deserves is there.
“The National Awards committee rejected HKA after it received praise everywhere,” says Mishra.
The director says that commercial success is foremost on his mind — “I need a full house, what else?” he quips when asked about his expectations from Khoya Khoya Chand starring Shiney Ahuja and Soha Ali Khan in the lead.
“It’s new territory that I am treading. That’s the challenge of being a filmmaker, isn’t it?” asks Mishra. The film is a love story based in the film industry of the ’50s. It talks of the relationship between an 18-year-old girl (Soha) who is pushed by her mother to join the industry and a struggler (Shiney) who goes on to become a successful writer-director.
Isn’t that a remake of the classic Kaagaz Ke Phool starring Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rahman?
“No it is not. However, I have no hesitation in admitting that Guru Dutt has had an influence on all my films. He is my uncle and there’s no need to reiterate what he was known for,” answers Mishra.
KKC, which shows a film within a film, is extremely relevant even today, says Mishra. “It’s a very realistic film and is about two lovers who realise that the root of their problems lie in the film industry but don’t want to leave tinsel town,” he adds.
A highpoint of the film is the music by Shantanu Moitra and the lyrics by Swanand Kirkire — the two earlier worked their magic in Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta.