Sudhir Mishra might be best known for making movies that often portray strong female leads but he laments the fact that directors in India look for a pretty face; acting abilities are only a minor concern for them. With a strong political background from his mother’s side, Sudhir says this is where his intuitiveness comes from.
“My job is to make films and not analyze myself too much,” says the man who is as far removed from a Bollywood family as possible. Mishra’s father was a mathematician while his maternal grandfather was a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. “I’ve always known politics as a child from my mother’s side, you become what you do,” he says. With his most acclaimed film to date as a director, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, set in the turmoil of the Indian emergency during the 1970’s and with him all set to direct another political thriller, one wonders if his background comes into play here. “All films about politics are not political, political is a very vast and ambiguous word to use,”
Through a Woman’s Perspective
“It’s not just about me making female oriented movies, I think women have a much better understanding of men. Look at Zoya Akhtar, she sees a man’s world through her eyes and her films show a softer, often ignored, side of us males,” says Mishra laughingly, adding, “All women pretty much know how foolish men are”.
He is of the view that feminisation of Bollywood is needed and it will bring about some great changes. He also credits newcomers like Huma Qureshi, Richa Chadda and Nimrat as a breath of fresh air in the industry. “Most directors make a beeline for the newest crowned Miss India, acting abilities be damned whereas I ALWAYS hold auditions. Unless it’s an established actress” he says. Mishra’s last film Inkaar dealt with sexual harassment at the workplace for which he has been accused of sitting on the fence as he does not take the woman’s side. “A woman has the right to be wrong and that film was to show just that” he says. Currently working on his film Pehle Aap Janaab, formerly titled Mehrunissa, Mishra says it is delayed due to many changes.