What made you agree to be a jury member at MFF?
Because Mumbai is the centre of the film industry and has a long history of Indian cinema. It is a great place to have the most-awaited festival in the country and I think MFF is becoming that festival. For me, it was a great opportunity to be part of the space of world cinema and different kinds of Indian cinema. It was also a way for me to see what is out there because I enjoy watching different types of films.
How would you compare MFF to film festivals abroad?
Well, MFF has made a sincere attempt to make a global festival. The Venice, Cannes and Berlin festivals had many years of experience to create a format that is widely accepted and have the clout to get the best cinema from across the world. MFF is getting there and certainly has some work to do before it becomes a festival of that calibre. It is only matter of time before it attracts the best of world cinema and people are keen to showcase that at the MFF.
How long do you think it will take MFF to reach an international level?
I can’t be specific but the intention is there. The people helming the festival are extremely committed, extremely driven and far-thinking. The initiative has been taken. The first step has been taken. It really depends on how much our own film-going audience supports the festival. How the environment in our country supports it. Festivals achieve the kind of success they do because people watch the films that are screened. Only time will tell whether the festival keeps growing from strength to strength. I think time is not very important as long as we are going in the right direction.
Were you keen to watch any films that you had heard and read about?
I watched one film, The Artist, which was a very good film. We will get to watch Melancholia, which I am looking forward to. There’s Once Upon A Time In Anatolia by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, The Ides Of March, Wrestler, The Tabloid… I’d really like to watch these films but I don’t know if my schedule will permit it.
Do you think MFF is a good platform for first-time and amateur filmmakers?
Absolutely! It is a great opportunity for young filmmakers to put their work out there and their films maybe could get a wide reception at the mainstream venue.
Does the festival help shape a director’s career?
Certainly. Festivals are important on different levels in shaping a director’s career. One, it gives you an opportunity to showcase your film to an audience that may not get to view it if is not a mainstream film. But barring that, it broadens the filmmaker’s horizons by bringing the filmmaker in touch with his audience. The director-audience interaction helps him or her see things in a new light. They can talk about cinema, they can learn how film industries work across the world. It is also a platform for like-minded people to share ideas. It is also very important for a filmmaker to interact with other filmmakers.
What do you like about film festivals?
When I went to the Toronto and London film festivals, I really enjoyed interacting with my audience after the screenings, I realised what the audience felt and the reactions my film had drawn. I was able to meet a whole lot of filmmakers from different countries. I met media people from different countries and they gave me their perspective on my film. So it was great exposure for me as a filmmaker. It shaped my first few steps in world cinema.
And what don’t you like?
The fact that sometimes two of the best films are screening at the same time and I have to make a choice. Worse, you have limited time and you are not able to watch a film that you want to watch.