‘India is a country where everyone protests’ – Prakash Jha

Prakash Jha, Film Director
Prakash Jha | Film Director

Edited Excerpts from an Interview :

Q: You have had an interesting background. Midway, you had already begun the process of filmmaking. How has this journey been?

A: I haven’t really started the journey yet. I still have a long way to go. I am still new, you know (smiles).

Q: When you take up socio-political subjects, for instance, the reservation debate, weren’t you wary of how such cinematic representations of the debate would be perceived by the public? Also, have you had to make compromises in terms of dilution of subject when you present such political issues to your producer and distributor?

A: The task is to integrate these issues, making it a human interest story and palatable to the Indian viewer. And no, I wasn’t scared of the reactions. India is a country where everyone protests. If one person has a point of view, someone else might have a contrarian point of view.

On the second part of the question, I believe in listening to everyone who has a stake in the movie. Their points on what they want, would also matter, and make sense to me, if I make the effort. I don’t see it as a ‘compromise’. I see it as a necessary part of the filmmaking process.

Q: I agree with that perspective on different views coexisting in a nation like ours. But when you face backlash as a filmmaker, and succumb to groups who claim that you have hurt their sentiments, then isn’t the job of a filmmaker, difficult?

A: Personally speaking, I did not face such backlash after the release of the movie. Usually, these things come up before the release of the movie. They are all rumours on how the story is treated, not on anything concrete. These things are done for political mileage. As a filmmaker, you must try to be free of biases, and be responsible for what you present, especially when you present such subjects.

Q: So there is something as negative publicity?

A: Any publicity is good publicity. That is what they say. But, I am not entirely sure of it. However, a certain amount of curiosity on the movie would help.

Q: A few aspiring filmmakers have expressed disgruntlement with Film Bazaar, stating that it does not give the promised benefits despite the availability of the platform. How do you respond to that?

A: See, I can’t go into nitpicking. The whole idea is good. The idea of being heard and seen by others is good. I pay people to criticise or thrash my movie, whenever I can.

Q: You have worked with a slew of stars. How has that worked out for you?

A :  They are all actors. Have you heard of any story on my friction with these actors? (smiles) No right? I listen to my actors too.


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