Anirudha Roy choudhury has been directing strong dramatic Bengali films for a decade now. It’s only now that he has ventured into Hindi cinema with Pink . Featuring the indomitable Amitabh Bachchan, the film is a powerful exploration of female sexuality and sexual violation. Anirudha speaks about the film with Subhash K Jha.
Pink is your first Hindi film.What took you so long to make the pan-India plunge?
The shift to making a Bollywood film from regional cinema is always a meditated step. Factors such as an appropriate topic and theme, a good script and a producer who shares your vision are extremely important. I was fortunate to find all these elements with Shoojit and Ronnie.
What prompted you to take the plunge into Pink?
While I shared many alternate thoughts with my producer Shoojit Sircar, this one excited Shoojit the most. Then on – we, that’s me, Ronnie, Shoojit and the writer Ritesh sat together – the story evolved into something we are truly passionate about – something that we’d like the audience to reflect and possibly debate about
The film addresses the issue of rape and its nebulous interpretations by various agencies. How much research and brainstorming went into the film?
Well, firstly it is not a rape film. But Yes it involves women, law and our society’s morality.. We did consult a varied team of legal experts, which has helped shape our film.We have tried to bring forth the legalities that today’s youngsters specially seem to be quite unaware of.
Mr Bachchan feels very strongly about the scourge of sexual assault. Considering the theme, was the atmosphere on the sets grim and ominous?
We were well aware of the gravity of the subject we were dealing with and hence there was a seriousness towards the subject we were dealing with. Nonetheless no creative work can happen in a grim environment… I think it was an environment where we all learnt a lot.
How difficult/easy was it for you to direct Mr Bachchan? What is your opinion the recent work that he has done?
Well, I had the fortune of working with him as a co-actor in PIKU ,and like most others, I loved his performance therein and in most of his other recent work. On the other hand, as film-maker I have long hoped to work with Mr.Bachchan and this film gave me that dream opportunity.
Mr.Bachchan never made me feel that this was my first Hindi film, and it truly was a lifetime experience for me Ofcourse, having Shoojit on set was of immense support for me.
Pink boasts of some outstanding young talented actors. How did you pick them? Or did they get picked by the script?
Well, we believe that every film has its own destiny, and that’s what happened here as well. Tapsee ofcourse was our first choice to begin with, having worked earlier with Rising Sun Films(Shoojit Sircar’s banner). The only thing I kept in mind is that I should see my character in the said actor –Jogiji, Shoojit’s trusted casting director, and my direction team helped me to put together this highly talented and ensemble cast
Pink is set in Delhi where crime against women is exceedingly high. As a filmmaker do you think cinema has the power to remedy the situation in any way?
Yes, it is based in Delhi, earlier I wanted to make this film in Bengali .Shoojit suggested that this film would be apt if we base it in Delhi as the incidents that are shown in the film, are very much existing there in the recent times.About your question of cinema having the power to remedy…Well, the hope is to make entertaining, engaging cinema. Within that process if we can encourage someone to think about such things, we’d be happy
Do you think the audience has an appetite for a film that throws unpleasant home truths in their face? How would they react to Pink at a time when they enjoy Housefull 3 and Dishoom?
We are at a very interesting stage in India with respect to cinema right now – where varied kinds of films are co-existing and working.On the one hand a film like Housefull 3 and on the other NEERJA, both have done well in the recent past. So yes, it’s a very interesting time to make films in India.