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I’d rather be ahead of time than be outdated: Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar

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New Delhi: In 2002, when experimental cinema was not as welcome as it is today, Meghna Gulzar dared to be different with “Filhaal…”, a film on surrogacy. The filmmaker is only glad she is “ahead of time” with her creativity.

Photo credit: fastnewsrelease.com
Photo credit: fastnewsrelease.com

” ‘Filhaal…’, even though it was appreciated, didn’t do very well commercially. Back then, people had said, and even continue to say, that had ‘Filhaal…’ been released now, it would have made more sense.

“Yes, it was ahead of its time. But I am fine with that. I would rather be that than be outdated,” Meghna, the daughter of celebrated writer Gulzar and veteran actress Rakhee, told IANS in an interview.

It is streaks of her father’s filmography as a director — works like “Koshish”, which was on a deaf-and-mute couple; “Achanak” inspired by the crime of passion that was the K.M. Nanavati case; and “Libaas”, a film on extra-marital affairs which remains unreleased in India till date — that find reflection in the works of Meghna. She says her basic “attempt is always to do something relevant and contemporary”.

“Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t work…but that is what creativity is about,” added the director, who admits that “much better kind of films are being made today, making it a great time for Indian cinema”.

On the relevance of films, Meghna’s forthcoming film “Talvar” — a retelling of three investigation theories behind the Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj murder case — comes at an apt time when the Sheena Bora murder case has been keeping people at the edge of their seats.

She couldn’t agree more, and averred that “cinema has been reflecting society since before”, and it continues to be so.

“When farmers’ plight was an issue, when labourers had problems, we had ‘Do Bigha Zameen’…when the industrial and middle workers’ problems were an issue, we had films and characters based on that. Right now we are making films on parents killing children because that is what is happening in society,” said the 41-year-old, who is a mother herself.

Nevertheless, she pointed out: “I am not saying everyone is conscientious… some maybe climbing the bandwagon for the controversy or the scandal. But having said that, I don’t think it’s like that across the board.”

Citing relevant examples to back her point, Meghna, who assisted her writer-filmmaker father for movies like “Maachis” and “Hu Tu Tu”, said: “When ‘Bandit Queen’ was made, it was not because of the scandal, it was because the maker felt the story needed to be told. When ‘Maachis’ and ‘Border’ were made, these were stories that needed to be told.

“It’s not the intent of making films on real events which is scandalous, it is when the incident itself is scandalous that the film becomes scandalous.”

As far as “Talvar” is concerned, it delves on the sensational killing of 14-year-old Aarushi and her family’s 45-year-old servant Hemraj Banjade — a case in which Aarushi’s parents were convicted in November 2013 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The film, starring powerhouse performers such as Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Konkona Sen Sharma, opened to a rousing response at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) earlier this month — setting the expectations high among Indian audiences, who will be able to watch it on screens on October 2.

Radhika Bhirani, IANS

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Aarushi Talwar Murder Mystery : Vishal Bhardwaj Calls the Verdict a ‘Victory of Cinema’

Vishal Bhardwaj had written and co-produced the Konkona Sharma starer "Talvar" on the murder of the teenage girl from Noida

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Film Director Vishal Bhardwaj. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 13, 2017 : Vishal Bhardwaj says because of “Talvar”, which he wrote and co-produced, the Aarushi Talwar murder case and its various investigation theories came to limelight once again. On the acquittal of the teenage girl’s parents in the case, the filmmaker says it’s a victory of cinema.

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar.

 “I think there is no better victory of cinema than this as it has made impact like this and that exactly what we wanted. It is amazing news and we are so happy for the family, and especially the parents, but the saddest part is that we can’t bring back their nine years in which they struggled to get justice. It’s also a big victory of the Indian judicial system,” Vishal Bhardwaj said.
Asked if the film generated any kind of awareness among the audience, Bhardwaj said: “I think because of our film, their case came to limelight at least for some period of time because earlier things which were under surface came into public eye with our film. In the investigation, there were many aspects which were doubtful and in our film, we took neutral stance and we didn’t take anyone’s side.

“We showed what happened in investigation and what proceedings were carried out by both investigating agencies that was Delhi Police and CBI in the film. So in the outcome, it made things pretty clear”

Vishal Bhardwaj was present for the opening ceremony of the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival here along with actress Konkona Sen Sharma, who acted in the 2015 movie directed by Meghna Gulzar.

Konkona said: “Its fantastic news. It’s really a shame that it took us nine years for their innocence that has been proven. Its tragedy is also that we still don’t know who the killers of Hemraj (house help) and Aarushi are but I am very happy for Talwars.”

Actor Sohum Shah, who also featured in the movie, said in a statement: “Before commencing the shoot, I was very confused and curious about this case. I wanted to know the truth but I didn’t want to create an opinion sitting at home. We tend to make an opinion by seeing the TV or believe loose talk. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to know the truth.

“I am very happy because somewhere or the other they are saved from injustice. I hope that the crimals are caught as soon as possible and the law gives them a harsh punishment.” (IANS)

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Bollywood Megastars Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan Promote New Short-film ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’

Kashmir's mountains, greenery and the beautiful shikaras; Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to touch the heart of the Kashmiri brothers and sisters

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Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them. YouTube

Kashmir, September 7, 2017 : Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and veteran actress-politician Hema Malini have featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness.

“As an Indian, this film is my attempt to reach out to Kashmir and touch the hearts of our brothers and sisters in the valley,” Hema, who has also curated the film, said in a statement.

Vaadi-e-Kashmir
Veteran actress-politician Hema Malini has featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness. IANS
‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’ will make you fall in love with the people of Kashmir 

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, which captures the valley’s beauty and people, is supported by KENT RO Systems Ltd, and has music and lyrics by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar. It is directed by filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar and conceptualised by Praveen Kenneth, Chairman – Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi.

Talking about his experience of shooting the film over two weeks in Kashmir, Sarkar said in statement: “Falling in love at the age of 62 years is possible… It happened to me when I went and met Kashmir. Though it was my first trip to Kashmir, it seemed like I knew the place.”

“The warm and friendly people just make you feel at home instantly. In this film, I tried to capture her beauty… but I want to go back to capture her beauty unawares — and also to know her a little better. Believe it, we all need to know her a little better.”

#DilSeKashmir : Watch ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir Trailer 

Amitabh gives a key message at the start of the movie, which showcases Kashmir’s mountains, greenery and shikaras.

The vision of the six minutes long film is to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them and also open many more doors to bring us closer to one another, said Mahesh Gupta, Chairman – KENT RO.

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir” also calls viewers to log on to www.dilsekashmir.com, a platform for the people across the nation to send a message of love to the people of Kashmir. (IANS)

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“Be your own critic,” Gulzar advises aspiring writers at ‘Jashn-e-rekhta’

"There is a pain of the society, of a career and money. I have to face several other issues, so don't expect from me the kind of love we shared earlier. Now, I don't have time to sit and text you anymore," he recited

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Gulzar
Gulzar file photo, Courtesy: wikimedia commons

New Delhi, Feb 18: On Friday, renowned Indian lyricist Gulzar advised budding Indian writers to be “their own critic”. He advised one can do this by imitating Mirza Ghalib’s practice of editing his own works.

He emphasised on ‘self-contemplation’ and ‘self-introspection’ for the betterment of one’s work, while speaking in a session titled “Hum Sooratgaar Kuch Khwaabon Ke”.

“Ghalib used to edit his own poems and often reject the works he did not like. It is important for poets and writers today to know their shortcomings, and be able to edit their own work as well as reject them if they are not up to their standards,” Gulzar said at the ongoing Urdu festival ‘Jashn-e-Rekhta’.

While conversing with renowned Urdu and Hindi screenwriter Javed Siddique, Gulzar reiterated the vitality and relevance of writers like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mir Taqi Mir, who were brought novelty in Urdu poetry.

Gulzar asserted that poetry is beyond manifesting grief, it should also touch the realm of “social consciousness”, while accentuating the contribution and vitality of Mir’s poetry in India’s freedom struggle.

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In the session, Gulzar recited one of Faiz’s couplets – ‘Maqaam Faiz koi raah me jacha hi nahi, jo ku-e-yaar se nikle to su-e-daar chale’, which losely translates to ‘No destination en route caught my fancy, as I left my beloved’s house, I went straight to the gallows’.

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Later, the octogenarian writer took a dig on how love is expressed through messages and chats in the smartphone era, as he was asked to explain the meaning of another couplet ”Mujh se pehle si mohabbat mere mehboob na maang”,  by path – breaking poet Faiz Ahmed.

“There is a pain of the society, of a career and money. I have to face several other issues, so don’t expect from me the kind of love we shared earlier. Now, I don’t have time to sit and text you anymore,” he recited.

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– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar of NewsGram. Twitter:@SabbyDarkhorse