As Nagesh Kukunoor's latest movie, Aashayein hits theatres, the man himself is in the city, playing judge at the 10th Osian's Cinefan.
Kukunoor who attended the first Cinefan 10 years ago says he was impressed by its current scale and the number of people who had gathered to watch world cinema.
But his role as a judge is a bit of stretch because he confesses that he hates it when people judge his work. "But here I am, judging creativity, when it's really such a personal thing."
Lucky for us he's here, because as he said, "I come out only when it's time for my film's release and then I go back into my shell again, I don't understand all this paraphenilia around it."
Spurring him on
"What inspires me to make cinema is world cinema," said the director, who recently saw a Chinese movie by a firsttime director at an Asian film festival abroad and was so impressed by the film that he's currently negotiating with the filmmakers for rights to adapt it. But he'd rather err on the side of caution than name it. "The minute I name it, there'll be 100 Bollywood directors running to watch the movie and they will make copies without buying the rights."
Kukunoor visibly has no patience for the Bollywood glorification chants. "Someone somewhere asked me, ‘Bollywood launched 73 new directors last year, what does that say about the industry?' What are those directors doing? What are their movies? Is there anything new? Most of them will be from the Coloba-South Delhi variety of urban homes and will tell the same stories. Where is the growth, where is the difference?"
Not just that, he also feels that Indian cine-makers have a self-indulgent understanding of the truth. "They keep talking about how Bollywood is huge abroad; it's huge with the desis only. The others are not watching our movies, I know they tout Germany as an example of a country where Bollywood is huge, but who in Germany is watching? We need to step out, people need to watch more cinema, more world cinema, and break out of this rut that we are in."
When Kukunoor made his first film he was typecast as an NRI filmmaker, but with movies like Dor and Iqbal has he managed to shed that tag? "I think the more time I spend in India, the more my content will be located here, it's ultimately about where you are in life."