You had graduated from the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA). Tell us about your transition from that into making films.
I don’t see it as a transition at the core. My life philosophy is in sync with irma’s philosophy. All irmans, as we are known, work with dedication and commitment towards upliftment of the downtrodden. I am telling their stories through cinema.
What inspired you to tell the tale of a grandmother and her grandchildren in Barefoot To Goa?
The disturbing trend of migration to cities and the leaving behind of the elders triggered the idea for the story.
Your film is also unique in the way its release was crowd-funded. How did that happen?
Barefoot to Goa is the first film in Indian cinema which has been released through public-funding. I am glad to share that in 45 days, 238 people from 15 countries contributed money for the film’s release.
Can Barefoot To Goa be called a children’s film given the deep issues of loneliness it deals with?
The film deals with issues of loneliness in elders, adults as well as children and a reflection of today’s society. I used children as protagonists instead of adults because they innocently raise questions which we have no answers to or we ignore those for our convenience.
How did you find the three principal actors in your film — the grandmother and her grandchildren?
During my search for a grandmother, Mrs Farukh Jaffar, who played a central character in Aamir Khan’s Peepli Live was suggested. She was exactly what I had imagined as the character. For the granddaughter, I wanted a girl with a thinking, philosophical look; Saara fitted the bill. We found the character to play the grandson in Mumbai.
Given its small budget, your film was wonderfully made. What is your message to other struggling indie filmmakers?
Rather than the technique, the story and the manner in which you want to say it as a filmmaker is of utmost importance.
How does the future of Indian indie cinema look to you?
Many new talents are coming up each year with brilliant films. I believe in times to come, we will have audience embracing good films like they patronise the commercial cinema.