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Alfonso Cuaron feels ‘blessed’ to have followed Chaitanya Tamhane’s process on The Disciple

Alfonso Cuaron said his aim behind backing Chaitanya Tamhane for the film was to connect with young filmmakers who have a distinct voice.

By: PTI | Los Angeles |
September 16, 2020 3:20:22 pm
the disciple movieOscar-winning filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron supported Chaitanya Tamhane's The Disciple as an executive producer. (Photo: Reuters, Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Oscar-winning filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron says young “masters” of storytelling, like Indian director Chaitanya Tamhane, are paving newer roads in cinema.

Tamhane met Cuaron through the Rolex mentorship programme while the Mexican director was working on his 2018 black-and-white multiple Oscar-winning classic Roma and shared the idea for his second film The Disciple. Cuaron was so impressed that he decided to support the film as an executive producer.

“Just the process of watching it come together in his mind made it something that I wanted to see. I was blessed to be able to follow his process,” Cuaron told Indiewire in an interview.

The Disciple follows Sharad Nerulkar (Aditya Modak), an Indian classical vocalist trying to achieve purity in his work as he has been raised on the stories of his father and guru about the masters of the past. But as the years pass, Sharad will be forced to negotiate between the complex realities of life in contemporary Mumbai and his chosen path, leading him to find his true voice in music and in life.

Cuaron, 58, said his aim behind backing Tamhane for the film was to connect with young filmmakers who have a distinct voice. “You grow up following the old masters. There’s a point at which you have to start connecting to the new masters. Not only are they taking the torch, but they’re forging the new roads of cinema.

“If you want to remain relevant, it’s an act of selflessness. Otherwise, you end up just repeating the same old bulls**t as opposed to moving forward,” he added.

The Marathi language film recently won the best screenplay award at the Venice Film Festival and also bagged the prestigious FIPRESCI award, given by international film critics.

The Disciple was the first movie from India to be selected in the main competition of a European Film Festival. The last movie to do that was Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding in 2001.

The film has also been selected at the Toronto International Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival.

Also Read | Chaitanya Tamhane’s The Disciple wins big at Venice Film Festival | Bollywood stars hail The Disciple’s win at Venice Film Festival: ‘Proud moment for Indian cinema’

The Disciple is the second feature film of 33-year-old Tamhane after his much-acclaimed 2014 movie Court, which was also selected in the Orizzonti (Horizons) category at Venice. Tamhane had won the Orizzonti Award and the Luigi De Laurentiis for the movie.

In an interview with PTI ahead of the film’s Venice premiere, Tamhane had spoken about how Cuaron helped him become more fearless in expressing himself. “He has been this enabler in me realising my vision. He has always encouraged me and helped me to aim for the sky and not compromise,” Tamhane had said.

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