Deepa Mehta

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There's a "freshness" to new Indian cinema - Deepa Mehta

Deepa Mehta, who is currently in the city as part of the Mumbai Film Festival where she’s a member of the International Jury, believes that over the years, film-making has changed in India. Considering it’s a thriving industry, she believes it needs more exposure internationally. The film-maker is currently working on The Secret Daughter, a movie based on motherhood and adoption.

What’s the one thing you look for while judging a film?
There isn’t just one thing. For me, a film is perfect when all the aspects of it are perfect. It’s a collaboration of many things. A director might be steering the ship, but it’s the performances, cinematography and all those things that make a film special. For me, a perfect film is when all those elements come together.

No one likes their film being panned. As part of a jury, can you relate to another film-maker’s feelings?
You make a film because you want to, so you’re responsible for it. I can make a film that’s critically appreciated but doesn’t do well at the box office, or the other way round. If you want one, you need to be prepared to accept the bouquets and duck the brickbats. There are very few films in the world that everyone has embraced completely, and that’s the reality of it.

Do films here need more exposure?
I think it’s definitely lesser than anywhere else in the world and it should be much more considering the population of the country. Also, this is a thriving industry — one that Indians love. Knowing the history of Indian cinema, its tendency has always been more towards embracing the populous.

Any particular change that you’ve noticed in film-making over the years?
There are so many different kinds of film-makers here now. There are so many films coming out of south India that have nothing to do with northern India. I saw a brilliant Punjabi film called Qissa, which I think is completely different from anything else that comes out as alternative cinema from Mumbai. There was some calmness to it, which is contemplative; even lovely. It’s a different kind of cinema. It’s not about gangsters, so it’s a real break. For me, that’s one kind of vision. A few years ago, there was Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008). Again, there was freshness to it. Dev.D (2009) was like that too. Some have the purity of vision.

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