One of our most prolific progressive passionate and illuminating filmmakers, Sudhir Mishra(Iss Raat Ki Subah Nahin, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Main Zinda Hoon, Dharavi) has just shot a short film with Taapsee Pannu. Sudhir Mishra speaks to Subhash K Jha about working with Taapsee and Anubhav Sinha for the first time, and about the film thath is most closely known by.
Congratulations, Sudhir, you’ve completed a short film , that’s one more in your prolific career?
Yes, I don’t know how I continue to make films. It’s been 35 years since I first directed a film that was Yeh Woh Manzil Toh Nahin. So much has changed since then. Miraculously I am still here. The film that I’ve just shot with Taapsee is produced by my old friend Anubhav Sinha. I know him since he came to Mumbai.
Anubhav really looks up to you?
Yeah I know. I am from an academic family so I understand the guru-shishya dynamics. But after making 4-5 films we all become colleagues, part of the same fraternity, don’t we? I’ve known Anubhav from the time when he had not found himself as a filmmaker .When he suggested that he would like me to make a film for his production house, since I have no interest in production,I said why not? It has been a wonderful experience working with Anubhav .
What was it like working with Taapsee?
I hadn’t worked with her before. But Anubhav had(in Thappad). I am so glad I worked with her. She is a rare actress who is also a good human being,so working with her was a breeze. I needed a very good actress who could be seen aging over 30 years in half an hour. Taapsee has managed the transition very smoothly.She and Parambrata Chatterjee–another fine actor I had not worked with before—play characters who meet after many years.
Your short film is part of an anthology?
Yes , Anubhav Sinha is producing it. Besides me, Hansal Mehta and Ketan Mehta are also contributing. I think I’m the first to shoot my part of the anthology. I am also making a feature film for Anubhav Sinha.
Tell me about that?
It’s a film called Afwah , meaning rumour. It’s a political thriller—you can’t keep politics out of my cinema– starring Nawazuddin and Bhumi Pednekar.I have worked with Nawaz and I know his capabilities. Bhumi is so talented. These young actors are so casually gifted. They come with no baggage and they are totally without vanity.
Your Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi which completed 17 years in April remains your best known work.How do you look back on it?
I was born to make Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi. Every filmmaker is born to make just one or two films. The rest are all spacefillers.K Asif and Mehboob Khan made films other than Mughal-e-Azam and Mother India. But they are known largely for these two films. I do hope I can make something that will take me beyond Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi.
Aren’t you saddened by what happened to your Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi lead Shiney Ahuja?
Very very saddened. Especially since the woman who accused him of rape withdrew her case. Our film industry ostracized him for something he had not done.