Shekhar Kapur gives reality bytes to Deepa Gahlot
Isn't it odd that you're treated like visiting royalty when you come to India.. because you have made it in the West?
It's a sad, sad, statement on our society. We still haven't been able to shake off the idea of the gora's authority. We talk about India becoming a big global power but we still aspire for the Oscar. I want to change that, reclaim our pride in our cinema. The only way to take eastern culture to the West is through Bollywood which is now a brand. I want to take our stories there.
Some years ago, crossover was a buzzword.. but we didn't pull it off.
That's because crossover became some stuff about brown boy, white girl, brown girl, white boy.. kisi bhi angrez ko le aao. But look at the Chinese films which have made it in the West. Or Japanese or Spanish. Now Korean cinema is big. There are no white people in them at all. Our films should be Indian. Pani is as Indian as you can get but it will interest everyone.
So why do you work in the West and not here?
Of course, I want to work here.. even abroad, I proudly say that I make films like an Indian director. I want to make Pani here. It's easy to make a hit film but very difficult to make a hit film you can be proud of.
I have already made Masoom and Mr
India here, which deeply affected the consciousness of the people. Plus Bandit Queen - isn't that enough? Every film of mine is deeply emotional - every film takes away 10 years from my life. I make a film when I see a great moral contradiction which affects me deeply.
<b1>Haven't you been criticised for making films on an English queen, the way Attenborough was for making Gandhi?
Well, for the first time, a film has been criticised for being too beautiful! The reactions have been divided. Some have seen beyond the dazzle.The Italians loved it, they saw I was exploring Elizabeth's quest for divinity as the Virgin Queen. The film is a huge hit in Europe. Much bigger than the first one.
And will there be a third?
In the third part I want to see how a queen, who has created an image of divinity for herself, deals with mortality. And there will be Shakespeare of course.. Of course, If you look carefully, in this film, there's a model of the Globe Theatre in the background of one of the scenes.
<b2>There is an Oscar buzz already.
But you can be sure I won't be nominated. I'm too rebellious. They don't like that.
Is that why Four Feathers just dropped into the cracks?
Four Feathers was an anti-colonial film, it celebrated courage. Then 9/11 happened. America which thought colonialism was bad, attacked another country.
I deliberately tried to make the location I shot in look like Afghanistan, and there was a character like a suicide bomber.
So it was uncomfortably close to what was going on. It was about the first jihad against the white man, it turned out to be Islam versus Christianity and Islam won.
There is some talk of reviving Time Machine.
But I won't direct it. I had shot six reels of it, I don't want to revisit it. The film came out of a personal incident. I went to see my father one day, he was in his 80s then. Just out of the blue he said, "Mere saath boxing karega?" The stance he took was perfect.
Then I discover that he was a boxing champ during his college days.. there were facets about my dad that I didn't know. He must have been a rebel, just like me, but the partition and the burden of responsibility must have changed him into a stern disciplinarian. I wanted to go back to his time and make friends with him.
, too, comes out of personal experience..
I'd gone over to meet a friend at Malabar Hill. He took so long over a shower that I got bored and left. On my way back, I saw these slum kids waiting for a tanker of water.
They were probably paying 3000 times more for the water than the rich guy. Devi Lal once said that the water wasted in flushing a city toilet can sustain a rural family for a week! Really, it's amazing that anyone can even talk like that.
And how are things going for you personally?
Chal rahi hai... When I'm here with my daughter, neend achhi aathi hai. Americans think they are immortal. They worry about not having a date on Saturday night, or the wrinkles to be removed from their faces.
In Bombay, I see a whole family living on a road divider, but they are happy and the kids are playing. Those who feel sorry for Bombay don't look at the people. Or they look at them through tinted car windows, and sometimes throw money at them. There is a wall of pity, charity or ignorance.
Does the fact that you have crossed 60 and half your life is gone, change your perspectives?
That makes me realise there is no time for dishonesty.