for all her films.
From PAROMA, 36 CHOWRINGHEE LANE to MR AND MRS IYER, 15 PARK AVENUE and now The JAPANESE WIFE…all your films are based on human
Yes…but my films are not sentimental, mind you! Life revolves around pain and loneliness. Every human being is a loner in a way, while pain is also an indispensible part of life.
That’s why people cry when they see your films?
(Laughs) I think when people see my films they can relate to it…they can empathize with the characters on screen. But it’s not that I only make them cry… my films also reflect certain humour and innocence and (pauses) lots of visuals.
So, you always keep ‘pain and loneliness’ in mind while choosing your subject?
I don’t choose a subject; it’s the other way round. An idea calls me and say ‘Please, you have to make me’.
How will you describe your films?
I don’t know how to describe my films. But one thing is for sure, I can’t categorize them. I won’t say my films are very intellectual. But as my daughter (Konkona) says, if you have a heart, you will love my films.
Talking about Konkona, why is that we haven’t seen you two together on screen after Rituparno Ghosh’s Bengali film TITLI?
‘I don’t make films for Konkona’
May be because there was not a script offered that’s good enough to have us both.
And so you took charge and are making ITI MRINALINI for Konkona?
I don’t make films for Konkona. During the making of THE JAPANESE WIFE, I was asked a thousand times why Konkona is not a part of such a big, international project. I told them that there is no scope to accommodate her in the script…the film revolves round a schoolmaster, a Japanese girl, an elderly woman and a young widow. We signed Chigusa Takaku to portray the Japanese wife, Moushumi (Chatterjee) was playing the elderly woman, I can’t take the risk of making Konkona play a man…so Rahul (Bose) played the schoolmaster. That left me with the role of the widow…but again, for that we needed a calm face that will have a certain amount of sadness in it…and
Raima (Sen) was perfect for it. So now tell me, were do I place Konkona? The reason why I told you all these, is that I don’t compromise with the requirement of my films. My script decides its star cast.
We were talking about ITI MRINALINI…
Yes. This is the first time Konkona will be acting with me in my film. I am playing the elderly Mrinalini, while Konkona will play my younger avatar. It’s the story of a lonely actress who decides to commit suicide one night. Before that she goes down her memory lane.
So, again a saga of pain and loneliness?
Yes, you can say that.
You are working with Konkona a long time after 15 PARK AVENUE…
And she has matured beautifully as an actor.
Do you watch Konkona’s films?
I try not to miss them.
Are you her worst critic?
I don’t criticize her films…but we discuss things.
Are you happy the way her career has shaped up?
Absolutely. She is my girl and I am so proud of her. Despite being my daughter, she decided to make her own mark as an actress. And all of us know how difficult is to get a strong foothold in the Hindi film industry; unless you are too good and strong-willed.