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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Is your God so vulnerable? Mine isn’t: Atul Kasbekar on Padmavati protests

Film producer and photographer Atul Kasbekar has weighed in on the Padmavati controversy by questioning the protestor’s lack of faith in their own gods’ capacity for tolerance.

bollywood Updated: Nov 30, 2017 17:33 IST
Sweta Kaushal
Sweta Kaushal
Hindustan Times
Producer Atul Kasbekar talks about his latest film, Tumhari Sulu, protests against Padmavati and more.
Producer Atul Kasbekar talks about his latest film, Tumhari Sulu, protests against Padmavati and more.(IANS)

Photographer-turned-producer Atul Kasbekar believes we have reached Andy Warhol’s “future”, where, as he said, “Everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Reacting to wide-spread protests against Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh-starrer Padmavati, Kasbekar says, “We have reached Andy moment. All of these people (protesters) are getting their 15 minutes of fame.”

“It is baffling that the character of Padmavati is essentially a fictitious character. This is the equivalent of us being worked upon Illiad. They tell us not to hurt ‘religious sentiments’, when and why did this become religious? Is your God so vulnerable? Mine isn’t!” he adds.

Further explaining the situation in his own words, Kasbekar says, “Last night, I went out with five friends, we had drinks at a place, had dinner at another place and then crashed at someone’s place for the after-party. Now if I call them up one month later and ask them to narrate the incidents, every person will have a different version and no one will remember exact details of everything. And this is just one month I am talking about, and in the age of selfies and videos, etc. With Padmavati, we are talking about hundreds of years ago! If you have a problem with the subject or the film, do not watch it. Simple as that!”

Kasbekar has produced Vidya Balan’s Tumhari Sulu and Sonam Kapoor’s Neerja. Riding high on the success of Tumhari Sulu, he talks about the new-wave of content-driven cinema in Hindi films. “There are very difficult times as the audience is on the lookout for new content. You feel like an explorer, these are fascinating times, Something like Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, if you are making a film on erectile dysfunction, even a discussion about it, ten years ago wouldn’t have gone too far. Each film has its own journey. It was purely coincidental that the scripts happened to be women-centric,” he says.

Kasbekar, who continues to shoot principal and promotional photography for films. “Working on a shoot campaigns. Something I can never stop. It is the core of my being, It gives me the most, almost like meditative space for me. Otherwise, people say I have the attention span of a grasshopper but when I am shooting, I am all there. Completely in the moment. I tell my kids, do what no one asks you do and then do it for a living, you will be fine.”

Further talking about the importance of writing in films, the producer says, “Something like Neerja, could attract Fox Studios only because of the compelling script it had. Same with Sulu, it is like a modern-day homage to Hrishikesh Mukherjee films, with very relatable characters. At the first level, it is just the script which guides what films I choose. Secondly, I need to back my captain, I need to see the directors’ vision.Someone like Ram Madhav (Neerja) he had every single detail etched out, during the narration, he did voices of different characters! Such understanding also works as a bonus.”

Talking about his future projects, Atul says, “There’s a bunch of different things. There are two digital series - a musical with Amazon and the other one is with Netflix. We also have hopefully two movies that will go to floors soon.”

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First Published: Nov 30, 2017 17:12 IST