On the reality road

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Nagesh KukunoorPhoto: K . Bhagya Prakash
Nagesh KukunoorPhoto: K . Bhagya Prakash

Ace filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor, known for his off-the-beaten track movies like “Dor”, “Mod”, “Iqbal” and “Rockford”, was recently in New Delhi to promote his association as a judge with National Geographic Channel. It was to launch their latest show titled “Mission Covershot”.

A task-based reality series, it tracks the progress of eight amateur photographers who battle to get the perfect picture and achieve the coveted title.

Here Nagesh talks about his latest avatar as a reality show judge and shares his vision of filmmaking. Excerpts from an interview:

What has been your experience judging amateur photographers during the “Mission Covershot” series?

It has been an amazing experience! When I was initially approached for the show, I thought to myself how can a series about photographers be interesting? However, when I went on to judge, I realised each of the challenges had been set up in a great way.

Because even someone like me who is on the other side of photography (read. moving images) there was a lot to learn from the experience of these photographers and the amount of perfection that went into getting the ideal shot at the end of the day.

What is your take on the ‘100 crore club’ as compared to small budget films you are known for?

Well it is always ‘to each his own’. There are people who get excited about the Rs.100 crore success because that is a milestone they set for themselves. Also, there are others who need to just tell stories.

For me it is far more interesting to be a storyteller than anything else.

A lot of stories that I choose to tell are very human so they are made within a very small budget. Also, my films are very true to life.

Do you plan to try your hand at commercial cinema?

My sensibilities are my own. I don’t think I can suddenly change them into what we call ‘hardcore commercial’ because it is not my space.

I think a movie just works or doesn’t. If a small budget film makes a lot of money then it is termed a commercial success.

You have been known to make realistic cinema. What inspires you?

Everything around myself inspires me. One just never knows when a story would hit him. Like for the movie “Dor” it was inspired from a newspaper article. For another movie “Mod” I was a jury member on one of the international film festivals when I saw a Taiwanese film. Loved the movie and bought rights for it.

Further, for my upcoming film “Laxmi” I was working with an NGO and interacting with many sex workers. While talking to them one story emerged which led to several anecdotes in the process. Thus I combined them all into a movie. So you never know how a story happens.

Do you plan to make a road movie?

Yes. I do plan to do a road movie. It is a genre that I haven’t yet tapped into and would be something that I’d love to do.


There are people who get excited about the Rs.100 crore success because that is a milestone they set…. For me it is far more interesting to be a storyteller.



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