Sir Richard Attenborough, the director of Gandhi, pays his tribute to Robert Mulligan, the acclaimed maker of films like To Kill A Mocking Bird, Come September and Summer of 42, who died in December 2008.
“I will not consider Robert Mulligan amongst the all-time greats like John Ford, Sir David Lean and Elia Kazan. But he was very competent when he got special scripts like To Kill A Mocking Bird, Inside Daisy Clover and Summer of 42. His sense of visualisation was very strong and narration of stories on celluloid equally convincing.
“Mulligan, I may say, came to same standards as Sir David Lean with To Kill A Mocking Bird. Even Ingmar Bergman and Satyajit Ray highly appreciated the film.
To picturise Harper Lee’s classic on celluloid was not an easy task at all.
“The combination of Alan Pakula, Robert Mulligan and Gregory Peck worked wonders in To Kill A Mocking Bird. Peck never surpassed his performance as the optimistic and idealist lawyer in the film in any of his later ventures.
“Since Mulligan gave more prominence to content than form, he was able to provide a strong platform for his actors to perform. He never imposed his views on any of his actors. He was very clear in explaining his scenes, narrating his film’s sequences and controlling his performers. Be it Gregory Peck, Steve McQueen or Gina Lollobrigida, they were always inspired by Mulligan.”
As told to Ranjan Das Gupta