Shoojit Sircar
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A film like 'Pink' should have been made long ago: Shoojit Sircar

By HT

Nobody does it with the ease that filmmaker Shoojit Sircar does. Yahaan, Madras Cafe, Vicky Donor, Piku, and now Pink; each has broken stereotypes and remain etched in our memories.

Sircar blurs the lines between commercial cinema and those with a message. He brings out emotions with the simplest films. In town for the Chandigarh Literature Festival, filmmaker Shoojit Sircar tells HT that a film like Pink should’ve been made long ago. Excerpts from an interview:

Your latest ‘Pink’ has brought about a revolution and has a life of its own, when it comes to depicting things as they are, in our society. Where did this courage come from?

Well, I think a film like Pink should have been made long ago. The fact that it’s being made only now speaks volumes of where we stand. There’s a lot that I learnt from it as well. The thought emerged from this guilt when my wife who was reading an article on women empowerment said she couldn’t believe this was the case even in the 21st century. That’s when I knew I had to address this issue. I am overwhelmed by the response. The husband of a two-month pregnant lady told me if its a daughter they would name her Meenal Arora ( Tapsee’s character’s name in Pink) and I think this and such comments made me feel if my films find an audience that connects to this extent, that’s enough for me, and gives me enough courage to do what I want to.

Are you saying it was difficult for you too to let go off your own attitude given that some of the most basic things are embedded in our system? What role has cinema played in that aspect in undoing this?

Yes, ofcourse. The outlook towards treating women in a certain way is so deeply embedded in us that I cannot deny that even I had to let go off any filters that might have been there. We all have been conservative at some point in time, but then during the process of making this film, I knew I couldn’t think like that. My characters are very important to me and I wanted to ensure they live it. The girls were given the freedom to wear what they wanted to. We didn’t have a costume designer for this three female characters. I think it’s important to just let women be. This is where we have gone fairly wrong with our films in portrayal of women. We have somewhere down contributed in making young women feeling victimised.

We also can’t help but notice your love for Chandigarh in your films, be it Ayushmaan, Yami Gautum or the sublte references to the city in Pink. Was it intentional?

Ayushmaan and Yami’s selection was cocidential as I only got to know later that they belong to Chandigarh. But I always wanted Dolly Guleria to be the mother in Vicky Donor so there it was very much deliberate. The subtle nuances to this part of the country in my films come for my love for Punjab and it’s people. It’s the community that makes you fall in love with a place.

An increasing number of filmmakers are now seen at regional literature festivals. How important is it for filmmakers to speak on public forums like literary festivals?

It is important to voice our concerns and we must understand that cinema and literature go hand-in-hand. While literature is perhaps in written format, films are its extension on the screen, so it only adds value to exchange views on such platforms and interact with a variety of audiences about our films and the messages we wish to give through them.