Hollywood director Luc Besson says he wasn’t threatened by the Burmese army while making his upcoming film The Lady.
Writer-director-producer Luc Besson is known best for his films The Fifth Element, The Professional and The Messenger: The Story of Joan Of Arc.
The film-maker of French descent who is known to be eccentric doesn’t mince words when talking about his fame and not being afraid of the Burmese Army while making upcoming film The Lady.
At one point, four films about Tibet’s struggle were being shot in Dharamsala but due to pressure to maintain Indo-Burmese relations, the filmmakers had to stop filming in India.Do you think it will be easy for you promote and release your film in India?
Michelle (Yeoh) and I are lucky to be well-known around the world. So it’s much more difficult to stop us. It’s easy to stop a smaller film, especially if the people involved are not that well-known.
We have travelled to a lot of festivals around the world and the film has been sold in 50 countries already. We don’t see any problem here (in India). In my film, we are talking about the ’80s and ’90s.
Since it doesn’t talk about the current scenario, there is no aggression from the Burmese government. We are just talking about their past and we want them to face it.
The film talks about Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s life and her struggle for a pro-democratic Burma. It’s an important film for India also because Suu’s mother Daw Khin Kyi was appointed Burma’s ambassador to India and Suu joined her in New Delhi where she studied at Lady Sri Ram College.
Her husband, Michael Aris, also studied under a fellowship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla.
Due to the controversial nature of the film, did you face any threats at any point in time?
I am sure they (the Burmese Army) know about the film. At least, they are not stupid enough to threaten me. If they call me, I will use it to let the international press know.
Have Suu Kyi’s two sons — based in USA and London seen the film? Will they come for the international premiere of The Lady?
Her sons, Kim and Alexander, keep a low profile. They won’t come. They still need a visa to see their mother. Kim (her elder son) got a visa to meet Suu Kyi recently after 11 years.
It’s such a horrible method to block a child to see their mother. Kim has seen the film. We showed it to him out of respect.
What was your experience meeting Suu Kyi, whom you studied for over three years?
We didn’t talk about the film before we started it. I had sent her a message to inform her that we were making the movie on her. Suu Kyi often says, ‘Use your freedom to promote ours.’ That’s what we did.
I know that every time artists express themselves to talk about Burma, about her, or about the fight, she is happy. So she was willing for the film to be made.
A couple of international directors are working on Indian scripts and filming here. Would you make a film based in India?
The best people to talk about India are Indians. You have amazing storytellers. So, Indian films have to be made by Indians, and the only reason we made a film on Burma is because they are not allowed to express themselves. But I wish in five years or even sooner, things will be different and I look forward to a film like mine being made by a Burmese filmmaker.