Real life is more exciting than fiction: Jag Mundhra
Be it Bawandar, Provoked or the ready-to-release Shoot At Sight, Jagmohan Mundhra believes in capturing reality in his films.Updated: Jan 03, 2008 16:00 IST
Real life stories thrill him and he loves transporting them on to celluloid. London-based filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra continues to capture reality in films like Shoot At Sight about the July 7, 2005, bombings in London.
Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Gulshan Grover, the film deals with terrorist attacks in Britain through a London Metropolitan Police Officer of Islamic origin who must display courage in the face of family conflict.
"Traditional and conservative Muslims are not extremists and that's the point I'm trying to prove in my film. Naseer's character is that of a devout Muslim. He goes to the mosque every Friday. Gulshan Grover plays a working class Muslim, who sells halal meat. He is a devout Muslim, but is not a fundamentalist," Mundhra told IANS in an interview.
"All devout Muslims are not fundamentalist. So the point is not the liberal Muslim or Muslim who doesn't practise Islam. I am talking about Muslims who are practising Islam and who believe in Islam but are not fundamentalists," he added.
The film, which also stars Brian Cox and Sadie Frost, is releasing in India in March and Mundhra says the thriller will not hurt anybody's sentiments.
"As a matter of fact, I'm hoping the film gives voice to the silent majority of Muslims who are progressive, peace-loving and democratic. I think this is the story of a Muslim who is caught between Islamic extremism on one hand and Islamophobia on the other... And I think the film will not generate controversy."
But he admits that there is a possibility of people interpreting it differently.
"There will always be somebody who will say Muslims are depicted as bad people, but so are Muslims depicted as good people. And we all know extremism in the name of sharia and khilafah is going on and we can't turn our eyes away from them and say they are not there. I think people should speak up against this kind of behaviour."
Citing the example of an English woman in Sudan who was punished for naming her teddy bear Mohammad, Mundhra said: "This English woman, who named a teddy bear Mohammad out of love and affection, was jailed for two months and lashed 40 times. Why didn't the silent Muslim majority speak up and say this is not acceptable? I think we need to speak up and those people need to speak up."
Be it Bawandar, Provoked or the now ready-to-release Shoot At Sight, most of Mundhra's films are based on real life.
"I find real life more exciting than fiction. There is so much drama in reality. To me entertainment is not escapist fare, not something where you just fantasise and then there is nothing. To me entertainment is something I could relate to and still be excited about it and be dramatic."
He however admits that drama is important for all kinds of movies.
"When you tell a story dramatic elements have to be there, plots have to be there. At the same time, it should have a resemblance to the world we live in. Then it becomes exciting."
He said that he is not expecting the film to be a runaway success at the box office.
"I am not looking for a blockbuster. I want the film to give decent return to my investors so that we can make another film. We are targeting a small segment of audience. We are not going for the lowest common denominator."
After tackling social issues Mundhra is now planning to make a comedy.
"I have done four films on social issues, which were back-to-back. So now I want to reinvent myself and do something different. I am going to do a comedy, hopefully, a sensible one with Govinda. I'll shoot it in India. I am expecting to launch it in March or April. Govinda only came up with the idea of doing it."
He hasn't decided on the title of the film yet.
"We haven't even decided the actress and haven't discussed the budget. All I know is that I'm committed to doing a film with Govinda and he is committed to doing a film with me."