His National Award-winning film “Court” talks about loopholes in the Indian judicial system, but director Chaitanya Tamhane insists he did not make the movie for a social cause and it is a just an expression of his selfish interest.
Chaitanya said the reason he took up “Court” was because he was fascinated by the setting of a real courtroom and wanted to bring it on screen.
“It is purely a selfish exploration. I am not doing this to put across a message or change things. There is no intention of activism or bringing about a social change. If something like this happens as a by-product, that is another thing and it is not in my control. But personally for me, it is a way of my expression. In the process I get educated too and my knowledge gets fine tuned. I made the film because I liked the story,” Chaitanya told PTI.
The filmmaker’s journey of making the multi-lingual movie started from his curiosity about what happens inside a courtroom and and when he visited one, his notion was shattered.
“I am always fascinated by the setting or a profession. Characters and stories come much later. In case of ‘Court’, I started wondering what it must be like to go to a courtroom. I went to a magistrate and session court in Mumbai and I was fascinated by it because it was not at all the way I had imagined. The most intense decisions were taken with an air of casualness, or sometimes the lawyers were not prepared or
there would be a missing victim. There was a sense of chaos and sometimes time would slow down,” he said.
The film draws many real-life influences but the director clarifies that there are only references and the setting is purely fictional.
“It is not inspired by any one incident but is based on several true cases. I have taken the reference but the characters and story are fictional. You might find one or two similarities here and there because essentially I am inspired by some real-life cases but there is no direct reference to any real person. I came across the case of cultural activist Jiten Marandi in Jharkhand. He was falsely accused in a bomb blast. The suspect was some other Jiten Marandi but because they could not find him, they arrested this guy and he was sentenced to death. This case took me to other activists and more cases,” Chaitanya said.
The filmmaker said one of the biggest challenges of making the movie was to re-create a courtroom, especially because everyone depended on their memory and had no support from pictures or any videos.
“You can’t take a picture or a video in a courtroom, forget shooting. So, a lot of us spent time in courts, secretly jotting down notes, carefully observing all details.
The production designer and art designer would be there too and then creating all that on our set.
“So, that was a big challenge- to get the details right because every other location in the film is a real location. Another important thing was to not get oppressed by the very same technicalities, details of a court session because ultimately I was constructing a narrative,” the director said.
“Court” is releasing tomorrow in India, majorly in Maharashtra and in some metropolitan cities.
When asked why the makers went with a less number of screens, Chaitanya said, “120-130 screens is still a very wide release for an independent, arthouse film. Trade is very ruthless about such things. For them even this is a lot. The idea is to grow. So, we intend to start in a limited manner but grow organically.
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