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‘We need to concentrate more on scripting’

shabana-azmi-9Shabana Azmi visited the 10th edition of Film Bazaar for her film, Idgah, selected in the Film Bazaar Recommends list. The actress discusses her film…

On the film

Idgah is based on Munshi Premchand’s short story of the same name. The film is about a relationship between a grandmother and her eight-year-old grandson.

On Idgah’s genre

It’s a children’s film, but we’re not calling it that because it has a universality that will make everyone connect to the emotion of the film. We are planning to release it during the summer vacation.

On NFDC

We are here to look for more feedback and I am very happy to be here. Ours is a small-budget film and we think it needs to be nurtured. We need to find all kind of channels that can help realise the full potential of the film. And there are so many platforms today – NFDC itself provides so many platforms for a filmmaker to nurture a film – and that’s the best thing.

On new directors

I believe today’s filmmakers are very passionate and want to make good films. What we need to concentrate more on is scripting, as today, even to play a musician one needs to learn that music, otherwise the audience will not accept you in that role. A lot of new directors do free screenings and I believe they should not do that. Charge a few bucks. It will greatly help you get investment.

On interesting approaches

What I find interesting is the way crowd-funding has opened doors for young filmmakers. So many filmmakers who just want to tour a country and shoot get to do it via crowdfunding. So there are many unconventional avenues developing. It’s fertile ground today, and Film Bazaar is one such space.

On changing scenarios

Earlier, anyone used to play a cop; today, if you play a cop you need to be fit and know the body language. I recently had to learn Carnatic music for Morning Raga. If you play the guitar in a film, you need to learn how to play the guitar.

On various languages

The script for Fire was in English. So two days before the shoot began, I asked Mira (Nair) if we could shoot the film in English, because it was written in English and our approach to the script was different as a result. So the film was made in English.

I just saw Death In The Gunj, which features Hindi, English, Bengali and a few more languages. A couple of years ago, no one would have done it. But it’s done beautifully today. So definitely we are breaking the language barrier.

On women-centric films

Look, what is happening in the world today is that no society can call itself progressive based only on its GDP. There’s lot more to it, including gender indices, health and more. There are very important women-centric stories that need to be told. There is no written history in India for women; it’s all through tales we have heard from our grandmothers. But from now on, we will have a women’s history too.

On doing television

First, you have to understand – I think film is a director’s medium, theatre is an actor’s medium and television is a writer’s medium. Except when I worked in 24, where you had scripting. The whole system of TRPs is not satisfying for me. But I am hoping that in the near future, television will also see a major change.

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