‘My engagement with films began with theatre’

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SHILPI-GULATI

How and when did you decide to be a filmmaker?

I had never imagined that I would be a filmmaker one day. I was always interested in theatre. I was introduced to the world of documentary films for the first time as a graduate student of media and cultural studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. During my time there, I watched several Indian and foreign documentaries and had the opportunity to interact with some of the best filmmakers in India. Although the creative processes of storytelling have always fascinated me, it was perhaps in theatre where my engagement with documentaries began and found its logical progression to filmmaking years later.

What do you feel about cinema as a medium of storytelling?

I don’t see films in isolation from other forms of art which all use their particular form to narrate stories. In fact I am most fascinated by collaborations which play with space, time and sound to produce a full body experience for the audiences.

How is your voice different as a female filmmaker? Or do you think that divide is overrated?

I don’t think my voice is different as a female filmmaker. At the end of the day, what matters is your politics and how you engage with issues of gender, sexuality and caste through your work.

How did it feel to win the National Award? And what next?

I look at the National Award as recognition of my work. I also see this as an opportunity for reaching out to larger audiences. Documentary filmmakers are constantly looking for newer ways to reach their audiences. We have had a public telecast on DD Bharti recently. We also have more than 52,000 views on our YouTube link. I am glad for this exposure. I am currently researching for a documentary on folk theatre in rural Bihar.

How do you like to spend you free time?

I like to spend a lot of time with my friends. They make me happy and lend a lot of emotional support to me. We usually try to catch free music concerts, theatrical performances or Indie cinema in the city.

Tell me a bit about your childhood maybe and what makes you the happiest.

I am the happiest when I get to eat good food. As a child, I was spoilt by my mother who is a fabulous cook. Over the years. I have made friends who lovingly feed me traditional regional cuisines.

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