Chennai gears up to welcome two stalwarts of Indian cinema today — Boman Irani and Sudhir Mishra — who are in town to grace the Gollapudi Srinivas National Award presentation. With both veterans excited to be in namma ooru again, DC catches up with the duo in a free-wheeling chat. Around 14 years ago, Boman Irani made his debut with Let’s Talk by Ram Madhvani (the director of Neerja). He was invited to the Gollapudi Srinivas Awards and received an award for his debut. Ever since, Boman has had a great relationship with Chennai! Now he is going to deliver a memorial lecture at the event. “This time I was invited as a keynote speaker; who am I to refuse?” chuckles Boman cherishing his association with the awards.
“What the awards stand for is quite inspirational. They are given out in memory of Gollapudi Srinivas who lost his life while directing his debut film, the all-important first film for an aspiring director. I’m glad to support debut directors’ films through this,” Boman adds. The Munnabhai MBBS actor, who would be speaking on ‘The making of an actor’ says, “Acting is a craft. It is putting in years of hard work, understanding life, then marrying life and the craft together so that you can connect with people. It’s not about taking photographs, going to a gym, or having contacts!”
Boman, who has been in theatre and worked as a photographer for several years, says, “The Tamil film industry has always been looked upon with great respect, and the remakes prove that. I have always wanted to meet Rajinikanth, but unfortunately have never had the opportunity so far,” he confesses. Boman says he looks for exciting roles, “Who I work with, which role I play are usually never in my control, but I look for an exciting story and a project that hooks me on to it.”
The recent granddad, also expressed his concern about the country’s censor board and its functioning — “I heard that Shyam Benegal is coming up with reforms for the censor board. I honestly believe that there will be a change soon. It’s strange we have a problem with kissing scenes in this day and age!” “I’m in the process of signing two to three films at the moment. Also, I’m working on a script that I’m writing. I can’t stay away from the camera for too long!” he signs off.
After chatting with Boman, we interact with the multi-talented Sudhir Mishra. Although busy with the post-production of his next film, Sudhir spoke at length about Tamil films, why he considers the Tamil film industry as vibrant, and what role the audience plays in supporting independent films. “When I watched Visaranai, I was completely awestruck. It is a very interesting and hard-hitting film. The entire cast did an amazing job. And the actor Dinesh; he belongs to an entirely different league. He is one of the most amazing actors I’ve seen,” muses Mishra.
So, does he think that mainstream filmmakers should support indie filmmakers? “I think more than the filmmaker, it should be the audience who should support such films. Unlike Hindi films, where the marketing cost is high, down south the makers put a cap on marketing,” stresses Mishra, adding, “People should talk about the importance of parallel cinema in public forums. They should be heard.”
Prod him about his favourite Tamil actor, and Sudhir says, “Ajith is a brilliant actor. I like his work. Most of us in Mumbai also love Dhanush’s style!” One of the pioneers of alternative independent cinema movement in India, Sudhir is all praise for Mani Ratnam’s last outing OK Kanmani. “Mani is a great filmmaker. I thoroughly enjoyed the chemistry between Prakash Raj and Leela Samson in the movie. Mammootty’s son Dulquer Salmaan looks promising, and I am sure that he will go places.”
When quizzed on whether he has plans to helm a Tamil movie, he says with a smile, “Why not? I think it is good to understand different cultures and styles. Right now, I am busy with my upcoming film Dasdev, a reinterpretation of Devdas. The film stars Aditi Rao Hydari, Richa Chadda, Rahul Bhat (of Ugly fame), and Anurag Kashyap in a cameo. The director, who has made films like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Dharavi, and Chameli, will also be teaming up with Phantom films for another film later this year. Sudhir signs off saying that it will be a hectic visit this time though — “Since I am busy with my film’s post production work, I will not be spending more time here. Next time for sure!”...