Nandita Das whose making her directorial debut with Firaaq admits that inspite of the overwhelming response the film has received at festivals all over the globe, she is afraid of pitching it with the big fish and has thus postponed the release from January 23 to February. “The song and dance kind of films always attract viewers, there are many big films releasing around this time. It is a logical move to shift the date,” she says.
We wonder if this implies that script driven films are yet to get their due at the box office, but Das clears there by saying that “if commercial success implies reaching out to more people then I am hopeful about it” because the response at all film festivals, she says has been phenomenal. “Violence affects people universally and I think everyone shared the emotion in the film that how long can one blame the government and the intelligence agencies.”
She adds, “Also, I wouldn’t want to indulge in ‘publicity stunts’ to promote my film. I can just talk about it.”
But making a film on a subject like the Godhra rights had a result she hadn’t quite expected. The actress says, “The day the attacks broke out, I was with Rahul Dholakia [director of Parzania] and somebody sent him a message saying ‘Look what your friends have done’ and the next morning I got the same message. I felt that suddenly there is such divide, about us and them, our dreams and their dreams… It’s really sad and affects me.”
The actress further says that while many have asked her about the experience of directing such bigwigs, she was not scared, nervous or intimidated by any of them. “I was asked this question when I worked with Amitabh Bachchan in Aks, but you can’t be nervous. If I have to slap him or bite him, how can I do it if I am intimidated. It was a great experience directing them all. Deepti Naval is particularly phenomenal in the film,” she says.