Director Dibakar Banerjee believes the mainstream Hindi film industry tries to suppress independent cinema and it is upto the audiences to recognise talented filmmakers and give them a fair chance.
“Bollywood will always try to strangle something which threatens it. But fortunately for the last 10 years Bollywood hasn’t been able to strangle the independent voices. I am standing in front of you as a result of that,” Dibakar told PTI.
Calling himself an “aberration”, who managed to survive in the industry, the Shanghai helmer says he is hopeful that the work of filmmakers like Gurvinder Singh (Chauthi Koot) and Kanu Behl (Titli) will get its due. “I am definitely part of Bollywood but not a part of the formula. I am probably a very interesting aberration in the film industry. There should not be any reason why I should be here but here I am, still working.
“If I can survive, then more talented and uncompromising filmmakers like Gurvinder (Singh) can survive. We need to recognise who we should reward and hold up as people who make us proud all over the world. The next wave has to start. People like Gurvinder and Kanu have to be given their due, otherwise the world will laugh at us.”
The director spoke on the sidelines of a special screening of Gurvinder’s Punjabi film Chauthi Koot, which is based on the short stories The Fourth Direction and I Am Feeling Fine Now by author Waryam Singh Sandhu. Chauthi Koot had its world premiere in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
Impressed with the sensitive depiction of the Punjab of 1980s, the time of Sikh separatist movement, Dibakar said the film needs to reach a larger audience. “I didn’t want to come out of the hall. Films like these are becoming a rarity. It’s for those films Indian cinema was once known for.
“It’s an interesting situation that a film which created sensation internationally is now coming to India and I hope media, friends of cinema and people, who call themselves tastemakers of cinema, can rally behind this kind of film and tell the Indian audience that there is something which is of tremendous watchable quality.”
The movie won the Singapore International Film Festival Silver Screen Award for Best Asian Feature Film in December 2015. Chauthi Koot, which also won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Punjabi, will arrive in theatres this Friday.