After working with child actor Purav Bhandare in the much-applauded Tahaan, filmmaker Santosh Sivan is more than convinced he wants to direct children and animals again. He's all set to do a sequel to his earlier movie Halo.
"I met all the kids from Halo recently and I suddenly thought what it would be like to follow up on what happened to their lives 12 years after they came together. So yes, why not a sequel to Halo?"
Sivan is known for putting animals and kids together in his films. While Halo (1997) narrated the story of a girl, Sasha, and her search for her lost puppy on the streets of Mumbai and the variety of people she encounters, Tahaan, set in Kashmir, revolved around a young boy and his quest across the mountains to find his donkey friend, Birbal.
So is it tough directing children and animals together?
"Believe me, it wasn't hard directing Purav or the donkey. I don't think we've had a film where a donkey plays a pivotal part. Donkeys have always been the underdogs. People use 'gadhaa' (hindi for donkey) as a derogatory term when they're intelligent creatures. I've directed animals before, a poodle in 'Halo' for example," Sivan told IANS.
According to him, getting the donkey was the hard part, not directing it.
"There are no donkeys in Kashmir except in one village called Sirhome. Once we got this observant donkey, I handed it over to Purav. Children love to shoulder responsibilities and they take them very seriously. Have you seen little girls how they mother their dolls?"
To Purav, Birbal was his personal project. "The donkey would react only to Purav's commands. Since that's what the film required, it worked to our advantage," the director said.
"Donkeys have eyesight that sees in a circumference of 360 degrees. I wanted to make Birbal the mute spectator of all that is happening in the Valley."
Miraculously, Tahaan looks big-budgeted when it is not.
"That's because being behind the camera I can see the frames in the most advantageous light possible. Maybe that's why people say my films look opulent when the budget is not that high. Even Asoka with Shah Rukh Khan was made to look epic in scale from behind the camera."