You have made your film debut at the age of 74 when most people hang up their boots. Being a highly acclaimed playwright, why didn’t you start earlier?
I was busy doing theatre and had no time to think about directing a film. Having made my first film, I still feel that the industry is not receptive to my kind of cinema. Most producers are not interested in investing in non-commercial films. I don’t mean that my film is non- commercial film but usually producers do not want to risk their money on a film which has a different subject or treatment. However, things have changed over the last few years.
I won the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1986 for the script of the film Majhe Ghar, Majha Sansar and I could have made a film then. But there were not many cinemas in those days that would have willingly given shows to my kind of films. Even now, we found it difficult to find takers and so we had to produce this film ourselves.
Did you feel nervous about making your debut at 74?
Not at all. In fact I would like to give credit to our cinematographer, Amol Gore. He was the one who insisted that I make this film and he kept encouraging me throughout the shoot. We enjoyed the whole process and did not compromise on any aspect of the film.
I have always received a positive response during every stage of the film. Right from the script stage to the entire shooting process, everyone only had good things to say about it. Even after the film was screened we managed to garner a heartening response. But I know that despite the good response, we may be unable to convince television channels to buy the film. It could be a hit if someone takes the risk and promotes it appropriately. The definition of a good commercial film is one that is able to connect with people and is a gripping tale. And my film definitely has all the elements.
What is the most striking difference between theatre and film?
The difference is in the way they are presented. In a play, everything is accurate and compact. But if you understand one medium, you will understand the other as well.
Why are most plays that are adapted as films rarely successful?
It really depends on the subject. And every play need not be successful as films. For instance, in a play like Twelve Angry Men, people are more interested in the arguments in the play than the action. While transforming, one needs to have an idea of the moment. If you’re making a play into a film, you can’t make it very static. There are films like these throughout the world. You need to have a perspective as well.
Are there any of your own plays that you would like to adapt into films?
Definitely. Majha Kai Chukla, Char Diwas Premache are among these.
Have you attended the MFF before?
Yes, I have. I think it’s a great opportunity to see a wide variety of films. Festivals like these are very necessary and are a window for all kinds of cinema. There is a whole generation of festival viewers, including young directors and producers watching these films. But I feel it is difficult to assimilate so many films in a single day as I would like the impact of a film to stay with me for a while before I watch another one.