Iran's Makhmalbaf plans film in India

By Hindol Sengupta, IANS
7/17/2004 12:00:00 AM
Enamoured by its colour and democracy, legendary Iranian auteur Mohsen Makhmalbaf is planning to make a film in India. 

"When I come to India, I feel this great sense of vibrancy. There is so much colour, so much democracy here that it is fascinating," Makhmalbaf told IANS in an interview here.

"That's why I want to make a film in India," said the 47-year-old director, who said he has three scripts ready for the film.

"The film would be about the soul of India, for that's what all cinema must be - they should depict the soul of the country."

Makhmalbaf, an exceedingly polite man, is in India with his two daughters and son - all filmmakers - as jury member at the annual Asian film festival in the capital.

Together they are cinema's celebrated House of Makhmalbaf.

This year, the festival is also paying a special tribute to the Makhmalbaf family by screening eight films made by Mohsen, his daughters Hana and Samira, wife Marziyeh and son, Maysam.

Marziyeh Makhmalbaf couldn't attend the festival because the family dog, main character in her next film "Stray Dogs", was blinded in a fight.

Jailed for wounding a policeman as an Islamic activist during the Iranian revolution, Makhmalbaf later during to filmmaking started what is now renowned as Iran's cinema revolution.

His 22 films (shorts and features) over a 14-year career bagged him 15 international awards, until in 1996, he "stopped making films and started making filmmakers."

"I teach democracy in my (film) school," smiled Makhmalbaf. "And where else can you learn more about democracy than in India.

"Even in the colours of India, so many of them, there is democracy. In Iran - one government, one colour," added the maestro, wearing black jeans, black T-shirt and a black coat.

His children are also dressed in all black.

"Unless you set the mind free, how can you ever learn how to think? How can there be real creativity?"

That's why he wants to make a film in India. Two of the scripts are called "Bread and Flour" and "Maharaja". The third one is yet unnamed but would "involve a lot of shooting in Indian villages."

But at the moment, as Makhmalbaf politely said: "There are many obstacles and that's why they are not being made. But hopefully, next year, I will make them."