Kolkata :Nagesh Kukunoor’s debut film Hyderabad Blues (1998) was a landmark indie film of its time.Since then, he has written, directed and produced several films—IIqbal, Rockford, Bollywood Calling, 3 Deewarein, Dor and Lakshmi, among others— which have won critical acclaim and many awards in India and internationally. Recently,STORY enthralled the audience on the launch of book the movie novelization Dhanak, the internationally award -winning film written and directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, which releases in theatres across India on 17th June 2016. The novel is written by the acclaimed children’s writer Anushka Ravishankar.
Dhanak is the first Indian novelization of a children’s film. While it is common for novels to be transformed into movies, the reverse is not popular in India. KA Abbas has done novelization of his films Bobby and Mera Naam Joker, but there are few other examples. Abhijit Ganguly spoke to Nagesh Kukunoor
Q) There’s always something magical about Nagesh Kukunoor’s films.The theme of your movies has touched the people worldwide. How do you go about choosing the theme?
A)I react very instinctively . I dont consciously think about what is it that draws me to a story.If a story makes sense i just run with it. I think after a hard hitting film like Lakshmi I was looking for writing something which sort of reminded myself that the world is not such a bad place. Lakshmi was very gut wrenching film about a young girl who is trafficked. Dhanak is the exact opposite. Its an extremely happy film about two children who set out for a nice magical quest. I go with my guts and then let the story write itself.
Q)Your films “Iqbal”, “Rockford” and “Aashayein” had important characters played by children. And now Dhanak. Your take on that.
A) I am not sure if I am specifically closed towards children. I just write the films I know how and it depends on what the story is. If I were writing for someone who is killer , I would try to get into the killers head and figure out what he/she was thinking. Dhanak is story of two children , so i put myself into that space and write it.
Q)Dhanak has won the Grand Prix for best feature, given by the international jury in the generation KPlus section for children, as well as a special mention of the children’s jury in the same section, at the Berlin Film Festival this year. What can audience expect from Dhanak?
A) I think its a happy film . Its a feel good film. Like Iqbal, its a brother-sister drama.Its an underdog drama. Its about two children trying to achieve the impossible to see SRK so that they can get brothers eyesight back. Dhanak’ reinforces the belief that in a world full of cynicism, life can have a happy ending.
Q) Nowadays many commercial releases are happening after screening in the festival circuit. Has it become a trend?
A) Earlier when films came after film festivals, distributors were very scared. They would think that the audience wouldnt like. I think public perception and knowledge has changed now.So they are actually happy when any film gets critically acclaimed elsewhere comes to the theatre.
Q) Certifications or censorship?
A)I have always supported certification and not censorship. I have been fighting this battle since Hyderabad blues. That movie was given 91 cuts. I went all the way to the tribunal and luckily the tribunal was very far. Otherwise I would have had to go to the high court. As an artist I have always said no to censorship.