For Shivajee Chandrabhushan, director of the internationally-acclaimed film “Frozen”, the last one month has been euphoric. After travelling to 30 international film festivals and winning over 20 international awards, “Frozen” has won him the Indira Gandhi National Award in the Best First Feature category pipping to the post Aamir Khan’s “Taare Zameen Par”, among others.
“I am ecstatic. This is award number 23 and 24 for us (it also won Shanker Raman the award for best cinematography), and I think it is the cherry on top of the cake!” says the mountaineering and trekking enthusiast. Seeing that look of pleasure on his face, it is difficult to even think that this man had run out of ideas and doors to knock for selling his film.
What matters is the journey
“I always think that the journey is more important than the destination. I enjoy it when the going gets tough. When I started out I used to think that making a film is easy, selling it is not. But now I can take a master class on ‘From ideas to audiences’,” he laughs, even while remembering how he used to pamper his landlord in Mumbai and coax him into pushing the rent by a month or two.
But after the toil, when “Frozen” premiered internationally in Toronto and London film festivals and at the Osian’s festival at Siri Fort Delhi, he knew he had made it. “Even after it has already completed the festival circuit, we are being invited to other international film fests that we missed last year. It gives you a high,” confesses Shivajee.
Not one to rest on his laurels, the Delhiite who has made Mumbai his home for a decade now is already working on two new projects. The first one is a film titled “The Untold Tale” and is set in 1956 Spain and present-day Rajasthan. A story about an Indian who moves to Spain and marries locally, it spans three generations and has the backdrop of fading Rajasthani royalty. “I found the similarities between Spain and Rajasthan very striking. About 800 years ago, gypsies had travelled from North of India to several areas in southern Spain. I think the food bears resemblances to spicy Rajasthani food and even the Flamenco is similar to their dance. I have deleted 20 drafts of this one and have come to the final. I would like to shoot it next year,” he says. Shivajee has already an offer of 100 per cent finance from Spain for the film and has a small set-up including an associate director and a local production manager stationed there. The other film is a romcom called “Love You Dobara” about a girl from Mumbai and a boy from Delhi. “I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a festival circuit director. This film will have my touch with four chapters in the life of these lovers corresponding to the four seasons but it will be a light-hearted romance with the usual Delhi versus Mumbai squabbling,” he adds. This film is expected to go on the floor in February or March 2010.
Shivajee has also had a tryst with acting. “Besides my role in “Frozen”, I had an offer in the Tamil remake of “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar” to play the role of Aamir’s brother. I was sure that my parents would disown me if I got into acting and I let that pass. Had they been alive they would have been very proud of their son today,” he says.