Posts tagged Dibakar Banerjee interview
Dibakar Banerjee confesses how his childhood habit of sharing made-up stories with others resonates with the passion he shares for filmmaking today
Shakti Shetty (MID-DAY; April 28, 2013)
To celebrate the completion of 100 years of Indian cinema, four Hindi filmmakers have teamed up to create four separate short films grouped into one feature film titled Bombay Talkies. Dibakar Banerjee is one of the directors. Made at a modest budget of Rs 1.5 crore, his segment is an adaptation of Satyajit Ray’s short story with a Maharashtrian twist. In a freewheeling chat with us, the 43-year-old filmmaker reveals his thoughts on diverse genres of cinema and the major influences in his life…
As a filmmaker, what drives you? (Pauses) As far as I can remember, I’ve wanted to make films since the age of 14. I only wanted to direct. I never wanted to be the hero. I think my passion to tell stories is what drives me. I used to fib a lot, cook up stories just to entertain people around me. I remember narrating several versions of Sholay to those who had already seen it!
Do you feel the pressure to do something hatke every single time you get down to work? I never felt that pressure to do something different because if you’re yourself — which I usually am — you will ultimately be different. Nobody on this planet is the same. Take Bombay Talkies for example. Karan Johar is as different as me or Anurag Kashyap or Zoya Akhtar are. If you make your film from your heart, there shouldn’t be any More >
Dibakar Banerjee says he strives to tell an original story and entertain his audience
Soumyadipta Banerjee (MUMBAI MIRROR; April 15, 2013)
Even after two National Awards, Dibakar Banerjee suffers from intense insecurity when it comes to filmmaking. In a freewheeling chat with Mumbai Mirror, Dibakar talks about his genre of films, 100 years of Indian cinema and the challenge of adapting Satyajit Ray’s short story for big screen.
You are a National Award-winning director and yet you say you are insecure as a filmmaker. How’s that possible? I have won not one but two National Awards. But I still have all the insecurities that I had on day one. I used to break into cold sweat thinking that nobody would put money into my next film. I still suffer from that same insecurity. I guess I hardly let my guards down. But, I have not let anything distract me from my core values of filmmaking.
Talking about budgets, we heard you have completed your film for Bombay Talkies on a shoestring budget… Yes, my film is made on a 1.5 crore budget, which Karan (Johar) famously told me is the cost of one lehnga in his film!
How did you manage to do it? Exactly the way any struggling filmmaker would do, the way we used to operate when we started off. I have shot in my own house. I just had a 14-member crew expert in documentary filmmaking. In most cases we have used our own resources.
Your film in Bombay Talkies is an adaptation of Satyajit Ray’s short story Patol Babu Film Star. How difficult More >
Known for his hard-hitting films, Dibakar Banerjee defends his decision to collaborate with a big banner
Shakti Shetty (MID-DAY; January 17, 2013)
Over the past few years, he has been touted as the face of intelligent cinema.
However, Dibakar Banerjee maintains that art and commerce do need to get married — sooner or later — for the former’s sake! This philosophy probably explains his decision to sign a three-film deal with a big media house like Yash Raj Films. He’ll be directing two of those projects. In a freewheeling chat, Dibakar shares his thoughts on filmmaking…
Tell us what motivates you to make films? I know nothing else. I’m overcoming my loneliness as well as the audience’s. For instance, when I made Shanghai, somebody just randomly called me up at 11 in the night and spoke for 45 minutes about the film! The connection your film makes is very surreal. I want to die making films.
Your three-film deal came as a surprise… I’ve always maintained that I want to do commercial films within the realm of popular cinema. A studio’s backing makes business viable and there are several distribution channels to tap on. If you ignore business, art won’t survive. Besides, my last two films were co- productions too.
And when exactly did you agree to this deal? Adi (Chopra) made it very clear that we’re looking forward to a director-driven co-production. Like me, he too wants to work with different people with same professional standards. To be frank, I wasn’t expecting him to More >
Aakansha Naval Shetye (DNA; January 12, 2013)
Out-of-the-box films like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye! and Love Sex aur Dhoka helped director Dibakar Banerjee carve a niche identity and last year he cemented his commercial viability with Shanghai. Now, the filmmaker has signed a three-film deal with late filmmaker Yash Chopra’s production house, Yash Raj Films, which is being headed by son, filmmaker Aditya Chopra. But while it is not new for Aditya to sign on directors, Dibakar has gotten in a deal with the production house wherein he is co-producing three films, and directing two of them. Here Dibakar talks about the changing dynamics for independent filmmakers…
Do you think it’s an encouraging sign for independent filmmakers, to be backed by such financially strong production houses? Definitely, I think it’s a step forward and I hope it does start off a trend, where talented filmmakers find this kind of a backing for their films that do not necessarily fit the mould of conventional masala fare.
Both you and Aditya are known to be head-strong individuals, aren’t there chances of creative differences? Yes, we both are very strong when it comes to our vision of how we see our films and where we want to take them, but that’s exactly why we are coming together. Because somewhere we realise that our visions compliment each other’s plans. As a director, it’s comforting to know that you have a strong and sound financial backing and for the producers, it’s my kind of More >
Dibakar Banerjee tells us how exactly he reacted when Chopra signed him up for a three-film deal
Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 11, 2013)
Film enthusiasts and the fraternity were taken by surprise when Yash Raj Films (YRF) announced that they are signing up Dibakar Banerjee for a three-film deal. Speculations have been rife since then about what could have possibly brought about the unlikely alliance of the maker of LSD and Khosla Ka Ghosla and the production house known for its glossy, high-octane projects.
In a conversation with Mumbai Mirror, Dibakar says that he too was surprised when the alliance happened. “Looking at YRF’s filmography, well I must say I was pleasantly surprised when Adi told me he likes my kind of cinema.”
But he points out that the production house has been shifting its focus. “I have realised that they respect talent immensely. In our first meeting itself, Adi and I realised we were on the same page. We have similar creative goals. We both love cinema, which works also for an international audience,” he says.
The three-film deal will see Dibakar work with the production house as a director and co-producer for two films, while the third one will be directed by Kanu Behl. Behl has written Dibakar’s LSD.
Rubbishing skeptics who have been speculating on whether YRF will interfere with his creative vision, something Dibakar is fiercely possessive about, he says: “Adi told me ‘If we get involved with the creative aspect of your film, what is More >
Chaya Unnikrishnan (DNA; November 4, 2012)
Director Dibakar Banerjee, who is currently working on a short film Bombay Talkies, celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema was part of a team that inaugurated the Seven Islands International Film Festival in Chennai recently. The festival brought together radical filmmakers from across the world and Dibakar known for his unconventional films says he was more than happy to be a part of it.
“I became a filmmaker because of the festivals. If there were no festivals for alternative films, I wouldn’t have films to make,” says the director who has helmed four films so far of which two have won the National Award. His last outing was Shanghai, a critically-acclaimed film that however was not considered a box-office success. Tell that to Dibakar and he retorts that the film made with a budget of Rs 12-and-a-half crore has made more than Rs 20 crore. “I don’t care what perception other people have about my film. It has to go through its own destiny and this film will continue to be talked about after many box-office successes will be forgotten. It’s when every film has to answer to the Rs 100 crore question that it becomes a stupid exercise. My film has a certain kind of budget and it always recovers,” maintains Dibakar adding that he doesn’t choose his content to reach maximum people in minimum time.
Dibakar who has made diverse films — from a light-hearted film on property theft, Khosla Ka Ghosla, to Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, that was about a More >
Dibakar Banerjee talks about his fascination with the 1969 film Z, the need to make a political movie like Shanghai and the unnerving response it has received
Raja Sen (MUMBAI MIRROR; June 11, 2012)
Vassilis Vassilikos’ Z is a book about a very specific Greek political assassination. What made you want to mine a true and fascinating story for plot and narrative, adding your own politics? I told my writer Urmi (Juvekar) that I wanted to make a political film, like All The President’s Men, or Z. She suggested I read Z. In the book I felt there was a lot more anguish. From Z, I took the idea of the investigation, but politically Z has a very different theme: Z is about the Left and the Right. In India we have the Rich and the Poor and the gap in between.
The Costa Gavras film made for an aware audience was stark and minimal. To try and reach a more politically apathetical Indian audience did have to make it more ‘entertaining’? We are fundamentally Indian and somewhere there is a pulse shared by you, me and a taxi driver. So I made the film the way I felt the events would unfold here.
Were you tempted to dumb the plot down, make it more accessible? We haven’t really done that. The big impact of the film – if there is an impact –lies in the fact that you watch the film and you feel the narrative. The dots aren’t joined for you.
Isn’t that a huge commercial risk, with our blockbusters becoming increasingly daft these days ? Absolutely. But if you constantly underestimate More >
Priya Gupta (BOMBAY TIMES; June 8, 2012)
Dibakar Banerjee’s office at Parel’s Chivda Galli, located close to his home and strategically away from Oshiwara, the hub of Bollywood, is deceptively calm. There is none of the flurry that marks film offices weeks ahead of a release.
The director of critically acclaimed films like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Love Sex Aur Dokha, may seem non-filmi, but he has learnt the ways of Bollywood well in the seven years since he shifted from Delhi to Mumbai.
Just before the release of Shanghai, which he describes as a political thriller, the 42-year-old Banerjee settles down for an interview with Bombay Times.
Unlike many other directors in Bollywood who are star-chasers, you’re known for your unconventional casting. Is that a stroke of genius or just majboori? Today, people are calling Emraan Hashmi a box office star, but one year ago when I cast him in Shanghai, people who are seen as opinion makers sneered at me and said, ‘Who? That kissie guy?’ I, of course, can’t stop smiling because I can stand on a rooftop and say, ‘This person you have been sniggering at all these years can do this (perform)’. The same goes for Abhay Deol. When I was casting him in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, they said, ‘Why are you casting him? He is so nonfilmi’ and then suddenly he became the poster boy for alternative cinema. This gives me strength to take the next step forward. For instance, you have no idea how much pressure I was put More >
Dibakar Banerjee talks about his style of filmmaking, his way of dealing with controversies and of course Shanghai
Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; April 10, 2012)
You and Balaji never got together to make the other film you had promised. Rumour has it that you and Ekta had a fallout after Love Sex Aur Dhokha… Not true. Ekta and I are great friends. We respect each other. Just a week back, we caught up over coffee. Inshallah, we shall work together again. We need a subject that excites both of us.
And Shanghai excited you… I wanted to make a political thriller. My writer suggested that I read a book titled Z by Vassilis Vassikos. After reading it, I knew I would translate it into a film. I sent my producer to Greece to meet Mr Vassikos and buy the rights of the book. Mr Vassikos was left wondering who were these people from India who wanted to make a film on his book that was penned 45 years back. Seeing my picture, he said ‘I like this man’s glasses’ (laughs).
What is Shanghai about? The film talks about the necessity of corruption in India.
Necessity of corruption? Does it end up giving corruption a clean chit? Not at all. Whether to succumb to corruption or not is a personal decision. Throughout the film, Abhay, Emraan and Kalki are battling it out, Ladna hai ya bhaagna hai?
Why choose unconventional actors like Abhay Deol and Emraan Hashmi? Abhay isn’t at all like the character TA Krishnan in my film. The fact that he wasn’t best suited to the role excited me. More >
By Aakansha Naval-Shetye (DNA; April 9, 2012)
Best known for National Award winning films like Khosla Ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, as well as the controversial Love Sex aur Dhoka, director Dibakar Banerjee has earned respectability that most filmmakers aspire for. “I don’t believe that you have to compromise on good cinema to entertain,” he explains. Looking forward to his upcoming political thriller Shanghai, the director talks about his filmmaking fundas:
Your films seem to follow the mid-path between mainstream entertainers and parallel cinema… Both the terms are treated as two extreme ends, but I feel that there can be films that bridge the gap. I strongly believe that a film has to entertain. But I don’t think that as a filmmaker I have to compromise on the audience’s sensibilities in the name of providing entertainment. So, in a way, more than treading the middle path, my films are bridging that gap.
Your casting of actors Emraan Hashmi and Abhay Deol — who come from two of these extremes — in Shanghai raised many eyebrows. How was it directing them together? Both Abhay and Emraan may have been known for their particular kind of cinema, but their sensibilities are on the same wavelength as actors. Both are intelligent and sensitive in their approach to their roles and that’s a blessing for any director. I have worked with Abhay earlier, but working with Emraan was a revelation. He is an actor ready to be moulded in the director’s More >