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Modest does it

by udaya — last modified 2007-11-21 13:08



LaxmiBirajdar
Posted online: Tuesday , November 20, 2007 at 12:00:00
He hasn't spoken to the press for almost a year now. At ease amidst a bevy of scribes, Nagesh Kukunoor gradually lets us in on why he's been lying low all along. "I've just shot three films back to back," says Kukunoor, who was in Pune on Sunday for the closing ceremony of Child's Eye film festival.
The filmmaker who popularised the trend of independent films in India, with the much-appreciated Hyderabad Blues (1998), Kukunoor has now graduated from making small-budget films to medium-budget projects. What with his forthcoming offerings sporting big names and exotic locales. Bombay to Bangkok marks his return to whacky comedy with his blue-eyed boy Shreyas Talpade in the lead. Kukunoor spent a month in Thailand scripting the film and recently shot his career's first lip-sync song there. "It was one difficult yet exhilarating experience. Until now, my films never had full-fledged songs because the script didn't warrant them," he says.


The publicity for the John Abraham-starrer Aashayein starts in full swing some time next week, while 8 by 10 has Akshay Kumar solving a mystery with a particular photo frame. According to Kukunoor, "8 by 10 is a thriller with supernatural edges."
Big as they might seem, Kukunoor knows his films can never be compared the mainstream Bollywood bubblegum. "I can't make big-budget commercial films because that's like going against my sensibilities as a filmmaker. The day I make films only for money, will be my last day as a filmmaker," asserts Kukunoor who writes and directs all his films. And his current preoccupation is very similar to the concept of Child's Eye. It's a film based on the marginalised group of Dalit women in Andhra Pradesh who want to tell their own stories. "It's based on a real-life incident wherein the Deccan Development Society educated a group of marginalised Dalit women in Andhra Pradesh, about the camera. They were asked to make films that were shown at a film festival," says Kukunoor who was impressed by the work he saw. "I decided to visit them and interact with these women. That's when I thought of making a film on them," reiterates Kukunoor.


And even though the story is his, he will not be using real-life characters in this project. "Some directors are really good at choosing real-life people to essay roles in their films, but I'm not. I can't take non-actors and groom them for the big screen," says Kukunoor. A meticulous choice if he wants to be driven by good scripts. "I make films only because I want to tell good stories with some level of logic in them. It's good if they are entertaining, but better if they are educative," he says.


And being word-heavy helps. "Whoever said that films are a visual medium, is wrong. My films are usually dialogue-heavy because I believe in the power of words. Audio for me, is unbelievably important," justifies Kukunoor.
It might still be a struggle to get prime-time slots in multiplexes for his films, but intuition has helped him break through. "Films are the biggest guessing game. You have to believe in your voice and feel the story you want to tell," says Kukunoor.
So we'll wait and watch!

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Modest-does-it/241050/

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