Japanese filmmaker Takashi Koizumi’s dream came true when he started working with the legendary director Akira Kurosawa. Koizumi started out as a photographer before he became assistant to Kurosawa at the age of 20. That was the start of a long, 28-year-old journey with his idol. His film,
The Professor And His Beloved
, was recently screened at MAMI’s 12th Mumbai Film Festival. Now, he’s looking to shoot a film in India.
While sharing several anecdotes about Kurosawa, Koizumi recalls, “Kurosawa always thought Indian cinema shared similarities with Japanese cinema. Music is an important element in both and facial expressions.” Kurosawa, who would pick up sounds from nature and every day life and employ them in his films, enjoyed Pt Ravi Shankar’s music in Satyajit Ray’s films. His film
No Regrets for Our Youth
(1946) is part of a 43 Japanese film package at the festival.
Koizumi assisted Kurosawa in
Rhapsody in August
(1993) and first gained worldwide acclaim with
After The Rain
, scripted by his guru. He says, “When I wrote my first script, Kurosawa gave me a 95 per cent. He’d taught me to cook; he’d say if you don’t have good taste in food, you couldn’t have good taste in films.”
Although there weren’t any special tricks up his sleeves, Kurosawa did give a lot of importance to observing people and memorising conversations. Koizumi remembers the master filmmaker talking about his favourites, Ray and Michelangelo Antonioni. They rode on an elephant together with Ray on their visit to India. Koizumi admits being a fan of the music in Indian films and sings
Main shayar toh nahin
(1973). He watched the film when he visited Delhi about 35 years ago. He’s just watched Robot and has visited Yash Raj studios to get a glimpse of how Indian studios work.
Koizumi now has a script on the life of Buddha, based on a Japanese novel, that he wants to shoot in India. “Get me a producer, I’ll make it here. There’s a role for Amitabh Bachchan in the film,” he smiles.