Cinema

On a roll

Rajat Kapoor  

He’s completed 20 years in direction and Rajat Kapoor is only too happy that he has had the opportunity to be as prolific as he has been. “Five films in the last eleven years is not a bad achievement, is it, for someone who makes the sort of movies that I do? It’s great that I have been allowed to make my movies at my own pace,” he says, talking of his most recent labour of love, Ankhon Dekhi. The man has an enviable repertoire, including a National Award for his non-feature documentary Tarana and the 2003 feature film Raghu Romeo, and his films Mixed Doubles (2006), Mithya (2008) and Fatso (2012).

Ankhon Dekhi (releasing on March 21) is the story of Raje Bauji, a man in his late fifties, who lives a mundane life in old Delhi, where his extended family is cooped up in a small house. One distressing disagreement with his daughter turns Bauji’s life, and that of people around him, upside down. He decides that he will believe only the truth that he can experience. “Bauji says that he will not believe what he can’t see. Simple. That’s the premise of my film. My concept for this film came from the thought that if Raja Harishchandra (legend has it that he never spoke a lie) came to live in today’s scenario, what would he face? He’d be treated as either a fool or a saint. Bauji is like that. In a way, every person who tries to think or do something that departs from the norm is taken as either a fool or saint, isn’t it?” asks Rajat rhetorically.

Reviewers at SAIFF (South Asian International Film Festival), where the film premiered last year, said it was thought-provokingly funny. “The audience reaction was quite heart-warming. I hope that’s the reception it gets here too. I don't place that much importance on audience reaction, but it helps because it fuels my next movie!” he says candidly.

Sanjay all the way

Rajat says that he cast Sanjay Mishra as the lead as he was writing the script. “I never do that — envisage an actor and script the role. But with this one, it was Sanjay all the way. I couldn’t get him off my page. The rest of the artists were auditioned for. Of course, Seema Biswas is such an accomplished actress and Namit Das and I were working together in a play. Maya Sarao is a wonderful actress who hasn’t really showcased her talent. Manu Rishi Chadha and Brijendra Kala are part of my ‘camp’,” he laughs, alluding to queries on his constant casting of Ranvir Shorey, who has not found himself a role in Ankhon Dekhi. “He just didn’t have a role in this. It’s not like we are not going to work together ever.”




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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 3:19:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/on-a-roll/article5788340.ece

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