Studios shy away from English films-Sangeeta Nambiar
Debutant director Sangeeta Nambiar talks about winning awards and being sidelined by studios wanting ‘Hindi-B’wood-Khan’
Suranjana Nandi (MUMBAI MIRROR;October 4, 2012)
The 7th annual Harlem International Film Festival received 400 submissions. And only 61 films were chosen. And her debut directorial A Gran Plan won two awards. Needless to say, for Sangeeta Nambiar this is a ‘WOW’ moment. Talking to Mirror, the festival’s newly anointed ‘rising female filmmaker’ reveals all about her dream that has ‘finally taken shape’, Farida Jalal (who won the best actress award at the festival) and the future.
Your film has a rather unusual storyline – abouta Eurasian boy and his relationship with an old woman. How did you come up with the idea?
It just came to me, like most ideas do, while taking a walk in the park. I saw an old Indian lady walking slowly and wondered what she felt like – walking all by herself in a park in Singapore. I wondered about her back-story. And then built on it.
How was it working with Farida Jalal?
She’s awesome. She’s very sharp and given her experience, it comes as no surprise that she’s able to see a director’s vision quite well. Unfortunately she hasn’t seen the film yet but I was so thrilled when she won the Best Actress award at the Harlem International Film Festival.
Apart from Farida Jalal, the rest of the cast consists of newcomers. Didn’t you ever feel the need to rope in more experienced actors?
I didn’t feel the need because I didn’t have the money to afford a well-worn actor. So I worked with newbies and yes, that does have its challenges. But hey, I’m a first time filmmaker myself. So who am I to walk down that path?
The young 10-year-old boy Olivier Kennett is being appreciated for his performance.
Oliver Kennett is a method actor. I can’t classify it under the Strasberg or the Meisner technique but I do know that the child delves deep into his own emotions, to pull off some stunning scenes. He understood his character’s emotional needs and really worked at it. He’s pure gold-like a Frost poem!
When will India get to see the film in theatres?
I have no idea. Everyone shrinks from it when they hear it’s in English. India has such a large English speaking population and this isn’t a new age grunge film. It’s an emotional drama that anyone who speaks the language can connect to. So what’s the big deal with the language?? It’s terrible when people don’t give it a chance without even seeing it. And I’m not talking of old fashioned 80′s distributors. I’m talking of new studios that only chant the “Hindi-Bollywood-Khan” mantra.
What plans next? Wouldn’t you want to make a big budget Bollywood film with A-list stars?
I’m really keen to shoot a film in Mumbai. I have a great story but now the big deal is to raise funds and see how best to go about it. I’d love to make a big budget film with Amitabh Bachchan. That would be a personal and professional dream come true!
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