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“I don’t act, I make others act”, says director Goutam Ghose who has a cameo in Majid Majidi’s Beyond The Clouds

Ghose is all praise for the Iranian filmmaker and the entire unit of Beyond The Clouds

world cinema Updated: Mar 31, 2018 16:18 IST
Poulomi Banerjee
Poulomi Banerjee
Hindustan Times
goutam ghose,majid majidi,malvika maohanan
Goutam Ghose with AR Rehman, Majid Majidi, Ishaan Khattar, Malavika Mohanan at the trailer launch of Beyond The Clouds in Mumbai.(Prodip Guha)

Goutam Ghose is a reluctant actor. In fact, ask the national award winning filmmaker about the handful of films in which he has acted, and he is quick to point out, “I am not an actor, I make others act.” Despite that Ghose has been a part of some impressive projects as an actor – Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Grihajuddha and Srijit Mukherjee’s Baishe Srabon, to name a few, as well as the soon-to-be-released Beyond the Clouds - Iranian director Majid Majidi’s Indian project.

“All the films I have done as an actor have been on request, and Beyond The Clouds was no different,” says the 67-year-old director. “I got a call towards the end of 2016 from casting director Honey Trehan that Majid Majidi was in Mumbai and making an Indian film and wanted to meet and cast me in the film. But at the time I was busy with a film of my own.”

The two directors, however, seem fated to work together. Ghose continues: “Soon after I was in Mumbai and since my film had been delayed for a while, I told Honey I was willing to meet Majidi. I had seen some of his films, Baran for example, and liked his work.” Ironically Majidi himself had started off as an actor, before turning director and scriptwriter with Baduk in 1992. Over the years Majidi’s films have received Best Picture awards at the Montreal World Film Festival, been nominated for the European Film Academy award, and been counted among the top films of the year by international magazines. The director has also won the Douglas Sirk Award in 2001, and the Amici Vittorio de Sica Award in 2003.

Anyway, Ghose and Majidi met and the former was persuaded to act in the film. Akshi, the character played by Ghose, is a cameo, but the director says he is a significant part of the plot and responsible for many of the twists and turns in the narrative. “Akshi is a poor man from the south who leaves his family and comes to work in the dhobi ghats of Mumbai.”

Shooting started in March 2017 and Ghose who shot for 12 days for his role is all praise not just for his director, but also his co-actors and the entire unit. The film has music by AR Rehman and stars Ishaan Khattar and Malavika Mohanan. “Acting is no big deal for me. As a director I have worked with all kinds of actors – good actors, bad actors, non-actors- and made them act. Also in the 1970s I had some training in theatre and was taught mime, expressions and voice modulation, which still stands me in good stead.”

What he does find difficult at times as an actor is to distance himself from the director in him, he confesses. “If I do feel strongly about something though, I make a suggestion to the director. After all, cinema is a collective art. Even when I am directing, I take suggestions from others.”

Working in Beyond the Clouds was a different, though, since Ghose says Majidi would himself show him the shots and ask for his opinion. He has not seen Beyond the Clouds yet. But says, “Whoever has seen it, says it has come out very well. I hope to see it at the premiere.” The film releases in Indian on April 20.

As for Majidi, the shared passion for cinema is an enduring connect between the two, that should continue beyond the sets of their respective films. “Majidi is a great Satyajit Ray fan. If he comes to Kolkata for the premiere of Beyond the Clouds I will take him to Ray’s home. That will be a treat to him,” muses Ghose.

First Published: Mar 30, 2018 20:38 IST