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'Samsara was born out of inner turmoil'

The acclaimed director Pan Nalin shares insights into filmmaking with Sudeshna B Baruah.
None | By Sudeshna B Baruah, New Delhi
UPDATED ON AUG 01, 2007 06:24 PM IST


y spiritual upbringing in the countryside, the wisdom of the people there have also been influential in my coming up with the plot of Samsara.
You are also known to have an interest in painting and art. Was it choice or destiny that we see Pan Nalin as a filmmaker today?
Partly both of them. As you must be aware, I was born in a remote countryside of Gujarat. My inclination towards filmmaking began the day I saw my first movie, at the age of eight. But the financial condition of my family did not allow me to get into film institutes.

I also had this teacher who having sensed my inclination for films insisted on my leaving the village and asked me to pour my heart into film-making. Here again it's destiny that played its role. I could also have had a teacher who might have persuaded me to stay back in the village. You may not have then seen me as a filmmaker. For some years, I also dabbled in the world of cinematography and design having joined the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad.

Given that your film was pitted against film like
did it not face distribution hurdles ?
What according to you is a good film?
A film that gives a true insight into the characters is a good film. We, in India, are made to believe that a hero is one who fights a villain and then sings a song in an inebriated condition and then sleeps with his ladylove. Is this what we call heroism?

Not really. My inspiration is very much outside the world of film. Indeed, Japan and Cambodia are some of the surroundings that inspire my themes.

As far as genre is concerned, I don’t believe in films such as mainstream or art. Indeed, if you look into the history of filmmaking, the concept of genre emerged with the setting up of video libraries. Films have to be strong enough to the extent that people can relate to.

You have been credited with making many documentary films. How different is a director’s role in documentary films and feature films?

Well, in a feature film the director is equal to god. He can enjoy maximum flexibility in dealing with the theme. On the contrary, he needs to be more perceptive while shooting a documentary film. He has to be very careful in carrying out research on the theme.

What are your upcoming projects?

It will take a year before I actually reveal any details about my next feature film. We have started shooting in the UK for the same and have also roped in some foreign actors. But as of now I am awaiting the release of my next documentary film Ayurveda-Art Of Being in India.
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