Amol Palekar,whose latest film And Once Again releases today,says that he only makes films on subjects close to his heart as he can’t bow down to fixed norms
When veteran actor turned director Amol Palekar sits down to talk about his latest directorial venture And Once Again and the finer nuances of film-making,one cannot help but admire the change that has come to be associated with him. But the one constant factor is that Palekar’s films,as an actor and now as a director,redefine the way the world looks at the average Indian middle-class household.
After having made Samaantar with Sharmila Tagore in Marathi,his latest film in English tells the story of the complexities associated with relationships between a man and a woman and the subtle repercussions that violence has on human lives. The film is essentially an adaptation of a short story that was written by Sandhya (Gokhale) a long time back. When Sandhya and I were in Sikkim,the place was so calm and serene that I just fell in love with it. And when she narrated this story to me,I decided that it had to be made into a film. While her original story was set somewhere abroad,I decided to base it in Sikkim because it just felt right, says Palekar.
As far as the unique title goes,he says,When people go through traumatic experiences,it scars them. However,once they let go of the past and start living in the present,the trauma is forgotten but what happens when the shadows of the past revisit them? They can either choose to be traumatised and feel low or they can choose to take a deep breath and once again work towards a brighter future. That,in short,is the essence of the story that I am trying to tell.
The film,which will release today,has Antara Mali,Rajit Gupta and Rituparna Sengupta in lead roles. Mali,who was on a long hiatus,has gone completely bald for her role of a Buddhist monk in the film. While Palekar feels that the ideology of casting people or doing films according to a fixed norm is redundant,he does maintain that she was just perfect for the role. Else I wouldn’t have cast her in the role,would I? he says.
According to Palekar,the great divide between parallel and mainstream cinema has always existed. I mean,let’s face it,the majority believes in doing a film using the set formula. And to glamourise it,they get big names. That is why the difference between the majority and the minority sections of filmmakers will always be there. The latter believe in telling stories that are close to their heart and refuse to bow down to norms. I guess I am not someone who can kowtow to the monotony and boredom associated with set ideas. And that is probably a reason why I can even now choose to make films the way I want. And this is something that reflects in my films, he says emphatically.