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Ashutosh Gowariker

The director of Lagaan, Swades and Mohenjo Daro, is now hero of a Marathi film, Ventilator. It’s produced by Priyanka Chopra and directed by Rajesh Mapuskar.

Ashutosh Gowariker
Ashutosh Gowariker

You used to act many years ago. Were there plans to get into acting again?

I never wanted to go back to acting. But when Rajesh showed this script,  he said, “No, this is for you to act....”

When was the last time you acted? Did you enjoy it?

Eighteen years ago. After Baazi I did the Marathi films Sarkarnama and Vazeer. I did enjoy acting but I found direction more challenging.

How did you research for this film?

Thankfully nothing.

Was it weird, not being behind the lens?

It was interestingly different to be among them and take directions from Rajesh.

Did you get involved in the direction?

I don’t get involved in direction while acting.

How much do you identify with the subject—a relative on ventilator and his family gathering around him?

This situation of being in the family I identify with. Any member of the audience, who sees it, will feel, ‘yeh mere family mein bhi hota hai’.

Is it in keeping with the parallel Marathi cinema phenomenon?

It is trying to be different but very mainstream too. It’s funny, emotional,  philosophical, but in a commercial vein.

How do you perceive current Marathi cinema?

I feel more filmmakers are coming with their own stories, set in a region from where he belongs, like Junnar, Beed, Satara. Films have a very different colour, are aesthetically beautiful.

Does that happen in Hindi at all?

It cannot. The burden is to make a film that has to be loved by the entire nation.

What do you make of the latest controversy about Pakistani actors?

Art is great, but patriotism is above art. But it’s not fair to have someone suffer who has done everything according to the law at that time.

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