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Director's questions Sudhir Mishra
Director's questions Sudhir Mishra

Watch MasterClass if you want to know more about the people who make you go to the theatres

The days of people only wanting to know about the stars in their favourite films is over. Directors are now becoming more visible, thanks to channels such as FOX History & Entertainment (in association with Indian Independent Filmmakers Worldwide) that has come up with “MasterClass”, which features the masters of modern cinema.

Speaking over the phone, host of the show and director Sudhir Mishra says: “It's high time a show like this was put together. India needs programs in which directors are given the status they deserve, where their lives and works are put on record for posterity.”

Having been a part of the team that conceptualised this 13-part series, Sudhir says apart from interacting with the best filmmakers of today on an intellectual and professional level, he made some very good friends. To be in front of the camera instead of behind it was something Sudhir enjoyed as “the chats were all about cinema and nobody had lines to learn by heart.”

The show will feature directors such as Shekhar Kapur, Danny Boyle, Mahesh Bhatt, Aparna Sen and Mira Nairto name a few.

“I can't wait for the next edition of the show as some of my favourite directors that belong to the next generation will be in focus. Also, in the current season, I'd have loved to chat up legendary filmmaker Vijay Anand if he were still alive.”

Would he rather have been a guest on the show? “Not everyone can be a guest. Someone's got to present the show and I'm glad it's me! It's an incredible experience to see your world through the eyes of another.”

Unlike any other film-based series, “MasterClass” is devoid of all the glitz and the glamour that usually is part and parcel of such offerings. Is it for a niche audience? “Not really,” Sudhir counters. “Anybody who is interested in films would enjoy the show. After all, it's about the vision and craft of masterminds who give the audience their favourite flicks.”

The one question that beats most of us is why foreign directors tend to explore a new country with path-breaking cinema that makes it to the Oscars while many of our own filmmakers stick to shooting sequences for a commercial potboiler on foreign shores only for a picturesque backdrop. Sudhir Mishra chuckles as he says he'd asked “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle a similar question on the show. “From what I've been told, I infer that such directors take up shooting critically acclaimed films in a new territory as a challenge. They perceive the entire experience as an adventure.”

So are our Indian filmmakers creating a niche for themselves on the world map? “They're undoubtedly bettering the art but being recognised globally hasn't come about yet.” MasterClass, which premiered last week, aires every Thursday at 10 p.m. on FOX History & Entertainment.

NEETI SARKAR

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