Danny Boyle exposed the exploitation of the not-so-privileged slum children in India in his film Slumdog Millionaire (2009). The film went on to win multiple Academy Awards. Now Australian director-producer Bill Bennett plans to make a film on honour killings, which will be shot entirely in India.
The untitled project will be produced by Anupam Sharma and Bill, and co-produced by Shahnaab Alam. It will have an all-Indian star cast and one Westerner.
Aware of the possibility of Indians being wary of being shown in a negative light, Bill says, “That should never impact the way I shoot the film, the same way it didn’t impact Danny when he shot his. The integrity and honesty of the story drives all of my decision making.”
According to the former journalist, the skepticism doesn’t emerge from him being a foreign national. He feels “wariness exists every time I step outside my front door as a filmmaker. If I worry about that, I will never make any films.” To explore the subject of honour killings Bill has already spent over two months travelling extensively around Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.
“Honour killing is not a simple subject. I have travelled into villages, met a lot of people involved in it, be it victims or perpetrators. I will make the movie from an informed point of view.”
However his point of view on the subject is purely professional. “It’s a complex issue and that’s what fascinates me as a filmmaker. If you make it a chase or a victim movie, then it can’t be a complete film. If you make it a war movie, is it a war for it or against it? It’s the point of view that matters.”
But come what may, Bill promises to make a movie that will connect to the Indian and Western audience alike. “It will be able to withstand scrutiny due to the sensitive nature of the film. It may not please everyone, but it will be talked about,” he says.