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EXCLUSIVE: BUDDHA IN A TRAFFIC JAM has a bigger superstar than Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, believes Vivek Agnihotri

April 13, 2016 12:11:26 PM IST
By Shaheen Irani, Glamsham Editorial
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HATE STORY, CHOCOLATE, DHAN DHANA DHAN GOAL and ZID director Vivek Agnihotri is coming up with a film very close to him and the one inspired from his real life – BUDDHA IN A TRAFFIC JAM. The concept may seem the one which can't be easily digested, but Vivek presses on the fact that it is all very real. He in fact during a recent media interaction even revealed that he had become the man who would burn public property thinking it was the right thing to do. Anyway, in an exclusive interview with us, the director spoke about the problems the movie is facing, his wife Pallavi Joshi who has come back to acting after long and more.

Here are some excerpts:


Your concept is a little unclear to me, because I read that BUDDHA IN A TRAFFIC JAM is a political drama, but it is also based on your real life...
It's autobiographical in a way because it's based on my life experiences plus other two incidents. In India, students (I don't know about Mumbai and the film industry) but there's a lot of student politics in the campus. In lot of humanity courses, somewhere professors train you to become socialist and Naxalites. I have been there and based on my experiences, I raised a question - about what kind of revolution do we need for India today? What do you think? Do we need freedom from Kashmir and such thing or inefficiency and poverty? The film is basically the conflict about what kind of revolution do we need today!

What inspired you for the title and why is the focus on Buddha as such?
When there was a lot of suffering, that's when Buddha found an idea and he showed us a path to come put of the suffering. Today when you walk on the street, you see there's so much of poverty and chaos all around. Supposing as a journalist you want to do something different and extraordinary, you will find people in your office only who won't let you do that. People won't let the talent grow because you're always stuck in the traffic jam! Young people are the Buddhas of this country, but somewhere the system is not letting them grow. That's why the title.

Your wife Pallavi Joshi is also acting for the first time in your movie. What do you have to say about that? And why is she not seen since a long time?
I'm not obliged to cast her just because she's my wife. Pallavi generally doesn't do all kind of films. She has done exclusively only character driven films. In this film, there was a role which I think only she could do, which is why I casted her in this film. But otherwise she's happy doing what she is doing.

Can you tell us something about her role?
She's playing the young wife to Anupam Kher. Being a housewife, she starts a club, but gets indented in a very large conspiracy - that's what it's all about!

"BUDDHA IN A TRAFFIC JAM has become a movement"

Audiences have almost adapted to Prakash Jha's style of filmmaking when it comes to political drama. You would obviously have a different style. So how do you think you can change or modify that?
When you see the film, you'll realize. I don't think this is a story which anybody has made ever especially since it wasn't allowed for 70 years! This is the truth. The kind of political drama we've seen in where politicians, police, media are bad but the hero is always good. This is a story about Naxalism but based in a business school. I don't think a political drama has been made in a business school and this is in a top business school, ranked amongst world's 10 best.

Your movie doesn't have a typical superstar to market on. So how would you focus on that aspect?
My film has a bigger superstar than Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan. It has a common man and I think they are the bigger superstar than anybody else! Your problems and concerns matter more, especially when this movie is based on real incidents! So this film isn't star based but character driven.

Some films are underrated. They have smaller stars but are really good films. Do you think BUDDHA IN A TRAFFIC JAM lies in that category?
I don't know about the category, but all I know is that people don't want this film to release and are creating problems for it because it exposes people who control the corporate world and intellectual discourse in this country. That's why we're showing it in JNU, IIT, SPJM. Students are inviting us at the colleges. This film has become a movement.

So are you still facing some troubles?
Of course, everywhere and all kind of troubles but then we are tackling them so let's see. When it's become a life mission, then you aren't scared of anything.

Do you think this movie can be a revolution and that you will have to promote it on a bigger scale for that reason?
I don't have money and nobody will give me. If you start writing articles against your bosses, will they give you your salary? That's exactly what's happening with this movie!

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