Art & Entertainment

Filmmakers Should Embrace Their Marginalisation, Says Dibakar Banerjee

Filmmakers shouldn't worry about getting marginalised in the film industry, says Dibakar Banerjee, who credits the independence that comes from being on the sidelines for helping him come up with diverse movies like "Khosla Ka Ghosla", "Shanghai" and "Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar".
Dibakar Banerjee Photo:

Filmmakers shouldn't worry about getting marginalised in the film industry, says Dibakar Banerjee, who credits the independence that comes from being on the sidelines for helping him come up with diverse movies like "Khosla Ka Ghosla", "Shanghai" and "Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar".

Banerjee, considered one of the most astute and politically-aware filmmakers of Hindi cinema, has often touched upon social and political evils in his cinema.

He may have worked with well-known stars of Bollywood, be it Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi or Arjun Kapoor, but the filmmaker said his films have never belonged to mainstream cinema.

"The stars were big, and stars have always been big. And films like mine have always been marginal and we have to accept and celebrate the fact that we are on the margins. Because by being on the margins, you have won your independence.

"By not being mainstream, you have actually acquired the right and the strength to be a little more expressive and less repressed," Banerjee told PTI in an interview.

In fact, the director said the producers are kinder to storytellers who are trying to make small-budget movies.  

"They're like, 'Okay, fine. He is trying something new. We may lose money, but not too much money. And the films will stay on in terms of library value'. In fact, that's the only reason why somebody like me is surviving. So that marginality has to be accepted and embraced. It's only by avoiding the mainstream that we can truly be free."

According to Banerjee, the current crop of filmmakers are "brimming with talent" but they should be empowered to explore the stories they want to.

"When you see stuff like 'Paatal Lok', then you know that the talent is all there. But I think if the environment becomes such where you can't talk about taboos... I can understand not talking about incest but I should be allowed to make a film about incest, without getting trolled and without the fear of my daughter getting threats (online). I think that's what needs to happen."

Banerjee, whose film credits also includes films such as "Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!", "Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!" as well as shorts in anthology movies "Bombay Talkies", "Lust Stories" and "Ghost Stories", said it is a mistake to chase past glory.

"The weight of the past is very poisonous. And that's what kills you, makes you boring and repetitive. Trying to repeat some past success makes you repetitive. I have hopes of money and fame.

"Every filmmaker wants to have a hit film or a film that's remembered or whatever. So that ambition I have, that desire and lust I have. But outside of that, I'm smart enough to not think of anything," said the director.

He is currently promoting "Love Sex Aur Dhokha 2", the sequel to his 2010 hit of the same title.

The first film, which became a big hit upon its release and also received glowing reviews from the critics, is still remembered for its cast that was made up of new faces, including Nushrratt Bharuccha and Rajkummar Rao, actors who have now become leading stars in Hindi cinema.

According to the makers, “Love, Sex aur Dhokha 2” explores the complexities of relationships and unveils the hidden facets of modern-day love in the era of the Internet.

"This is a new film. I've forgotten what 'LSD' was. The only thing that 'LSD' has given me is the chance to work with non-stars, completely new people and push boundaries and subjects which in an Indian scenario, we're not that used to seeing.

"We always work around a subject. So I wanted to just collide into the subject... I don't give a f**k what happens to them (cast). They will find their own destiny."

"Love Sex Aur Dhokha 2" stars Bonita Rajpurohit, Paritosh Tiwari and Abhinav Singh, and has appearances by Mouni Roy, Tushar Kapoor, Sophie Choudry, and Anu Malik.

Telling a story about the youth was not challenging for Banerjee as he believes filmmakers feel "all the ages inside" them.

"I made a film about a 55-year-old man when I was 33. It was called 'Khosla Ka Ghosla'. I never thought that I would ever know what a 55-year-old man feels like. So in my fifties, I don't think I should have a problem about figuring out anybody else, of any age and of any gender.

"I have lived with all the ages. I like observing people and I can see what's happening to them as they are aging and growing... So I think there was enough ground to start from there."

He recalled that "Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!", his 2015 film about the fictional Bengali detective with late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, was incredibly popular with the teen population of the country.

"Teen boys liked the film the most and they were the biggest fans. I got a compliment from a teen, 'Uncle your film was very nice'. So they called me uncle, but they say your film was very nice. So I think most of us who write stories or make films, we feel all the ages inside." 


“Love Sex aur Dhokha 2” is produced by Ektaa R Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms Limited. The film will be released in theatres on April 19.