Kaushik Roy's first film Apna Aasman has met with a tepid response but he says he was only being faithful to his dreams while making the movie and that parents have a lot to learn from it.
Roy has a son who is also mildly autistic and he says people have to accept the will of God; that it is important that parents don't become obsessed by their own dreams about their children.
Excerpts from the interview:
How was Apna Aasman born?
I was only being faithful to a dream that lasted 30 seconds. It told me how meaningless it is to try and change the will of god and the force of nature. Since that dream, my wife and I have accepted our son Orko the way he is ...And life suddenly became happier.
I feel parents who are similarly obsessed by their own dreams about their children have a lot to learn from my films.
Wasn't the theme too close to your heart to be alchemised into cinema? Did you find yourself responding as a father rather than a film-maker?
I believe the first film should always be something that's close to one's heart. Then you can be honest and sincere. Yes, the film has parts of me as a father. But by broad-basing the subject to speak to all parents, I think I have played the role of a film-maker with a fair degree of commercial responsibility.
And my narrative style, which is allegorical like a fable, is my way of making it a film for all to watch and enjoy as an entertaining and engaging film, because as a filmmaker I was conscious of people paying fancy prices to get into a multiplex.
The response has been surprisingly cold. Did that disappoint you?
More critics have loved it than the ones who have hated it. I consider that good ... it's best to get extreme responses than the indifferent cautious ones. As for the audience who have seen it, we've got congratulatory notes to our website email.
Having said that, we have no money to get the crowds and there is zero backing for independent cinema from the industry. There's a lot of lip service, lots of double standards. It disappoints me.
What made you choose Irrfan and Shobana, especially the latter?
I was looking for great actors who would effortlessly deliver the roles with credibility. While Irrfan was a natural choice, Shobana happened in a strange way. I read about her, then saw her films and was convinced that here's a beautiful actor who is bold enough to play a mother of a 15-year-old. Hindi cinema deserves her!
What are you making next? And with whom?
I have several scripts ready. Actors will be people who fit the characters and not vice-versa. But this time I will do something that has a ready market. Who knows, may be a comedy! But it will have a social message. Cinema can't just be like a packet of popcorn that lasts for just the show's duration.