Life is all about turning obstacles into opportunities. Who knows this better than Shoojit Sircar. The gifted director didn’t know what had hit him when his Amitabh Bachchan starrer “Shoebite” got into a legal tangle with two production houses squabbling over the rights. Around the same time, his collaborator Juhi Chaturvedi came up with the idea of the story of a sperm donor. Conventional wisdom suggested otherwise but Shoojit lapped up the idea and “Vicky Donor” emerged the winner not only at the box office but also at award functions. The icing on the cake is the National Award for the best film providing wholesome entertainment. Shoojit is elated and says it was the balance that his team was able to achieve in characterisation and point of views that turned the tide in Vicky’s favour. “There was no stereotypical Punjabi or Bengali point of view. The highly educated girl (Bengali) feels insecure when she comes to know that her husband is a sperm donor.”
What was your first reaction?
It was one of surprise because I was not anticipating that a film made on a subject that is considered taboo in society would win the best film award for wholesome entertainment. Plus two awards in the acting category. Dolly Ahluwalia was ignored at most popular awards but the moment she completed the first scene I told her that to me it is a National Award-winning performance.
What does the award reflect?
It shows the gap between mainstream and small-budget high-concept films is reducing, which is a healthy sign.
When did you realise that you have a winner on your hand?
When writer Juhi (Chaturvedi) shared the idea with me. I became more confident when Annu Kapoor, who was the most seasoned actor in our team, said that he was happy to be part of a film that is not only entertaining but progressive as well.
What was the best compliment that you got?
It was when Amitabh Bachchan sent a huge bouquet after watching the film and called up to discuss all the characters in great detail.
Do you think the presence of Basu Chatterjee at the helm of the jury might have helped you, because “Vicky Donor” is very much like his cinema?
The jury members’ taste does play a role but I believe in the National Awards an individual’s taste can’t turn the decision. Here decisions are not as subjective as in other popular awards.