ASCHARYA F#*K IT — as the name suggests, is a bold film. But its director Samit Kakkad has "immense faith" in Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which has often locked horns with filmmakers over cuts and beeps. He is sure that the censor board will see the film, which is inspired from the works of controversial writer Saadat Hasan Manto, for what it is and hopefully value artistic expression.
The film, backed by Yoodlee films, Saregama India's movie production venture, is a concoction of suspense, action and erotica.
"It is (a bold film). But then does that mean in the fear of censorship, filmmakers should restrict stories that they want to tell? The reality is that Manto was a controversial writer, so while making a film based on his characters or style, I have to remain true to it as a filmmaker," Kakkad told IANS in an email interview.
"MANTO wrote about characters on the fringes of society and captured their world and their voice. I have immense faith in the CBFC system and I am sure they will see the film for what it is and hopefully value artistic expression."
The team shot in a brothel and had a sex worker on set to help the cast with the language, diction and mannerism for the movie that revolves around the lives of a prostitute, her pimp who loves her, a Bollywood superstar and his driver.
"Many of my characters' elements are inspired from bits and bobs of real life. The idea for me to choose the characters I did, was to show the intertwining nexus that exists and the stark differences of the lives. The glamour contrasted with the life of a sex worker contrasted with the life of a chauffeur," said Kakkad.
It has a Bollywood superstar as a character but the cast does not have an actual Bollywood superstar. It stars actors Priyanka Bose, Vaibhav Raj Gupta, Ankit Raaj, Anangsha Biswas and Santosh Juvekar.
Otherwise also, there are hardly any Bollywood erotic films that have big names. Aren't they bold enough to do erotic films?
"I think it is unfair to say that major actors shy away from such roles. There have been actors who have taken up the challenge and delivered. In my case, I never took the film to a major actor for the male part because I wanted a sense of realism with my characters and with a star, sometimes the persona ends up being bigger than the character," said the "Half Ticket" director.
Quite a few films are inspired by books or literary work. Is Bollywood running out of original stories?
"Hardly. I think the role of cinema is to dish out content that initiates some sort of an emotion, whatever it may be. Sometimes literary works provide just that and it's a challenge and equally exciting to try and do justice to the written word," he said.
As a filmmaker, he wants to continue to "push myself and continue making films that are exciting for me at first and then everyone else around me".