December 5, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): From Lagaan to Jodha Akbar, Ashutosh Gowarikar has this knack for period films (with an exception to Swadesh). And now, he is eagerly waiting for the release of Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se, based on Chittagong Uprising. The filmmaker in conversation with TWF correspondent Sreya Basu
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is a period saga. How far do you think the Gen Y audience will accept this film?
I feel that all of us must look back and our past and learn from our mistakes. Take this film Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey…it’s about the zeal of patriotism…the desperation to throw away the oppressor- the British Raj. The oppressor is there in present times as well…it may be the socio-economic factor, or it can be moral issues…there are several oppressors today. Even today we need to address all of that and different kinds of revolution do need to come in to fight the social evils we are facing at the moment.
So juxtaposition-wise, what is relevant about Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se is that, just like the 13-14 years old boys and girls, who scripted Chittagong Uprising, even today, it is the youths who decide how to take the country ahead. So this film has been made to motivate the youth as only they can pass on the country from one generation to another. So, it’s basically about getting inspired from what Surjyo Sen and his team did in 1930 and to apply it, in a way if we can, to today’s time.
But you do have an inclination towards period films, isn’t it?
I would say my comfort zone is in my themes that I want to tell on screen. And I am very easily attracted to themes where people come together to fight for a common cause. It is a magnificent coincidence that third time now (Lagaan, Jodha Akbar, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey) I am telling a theme of people coming together, though set in different worlds, different eras.
Will you do a period film again?
If I have a theme again which inspires me to go to another period, I would. It doesn’t matter to me because I think the theme of the film is the most important part.
Whenever you have made a period film, there have been controversies for ‘tampering’ history. What will you say on this?
See, history is written every 50 years…a new interpretation of history gets written. When you make a film on an incident from the pages of history, then you have to go by one book. You will get 4-5 books on the same theme, but their interpretations will be different. Instead of getting confused, it’s better you follow one book. Like I followed Akbarnaama for Jodha Akbar; for Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, I am following Malini Chatterjee’s book Do and Die. So, it’s probable that some objections might come in.
Do you think making a period film is a bigger challenge?
There is a challenge is whichever film you make. Even if you bring a 2-hour film filled with comedy, fun and laughter, and that doesn’t give you a good opening, all you can do is to sit and wonder what was wrong with your film! On the other hand, you bring a ‘long’ film with excellent performance by the actors…and it too bombs at the Box Office. So there’s risk in both ways. The least I can do is to make films that I believe in and can put in my optimum efforts. I am not concerned about eras, rather I keep thinking if I would be able to portray my thoughts on the screen and if I would get suitable actors and technicians, if they will follow the same vision together.
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