January 25, 2020
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Kaushik Mukherjee, ‘Q’

The director on taking Tasher Desh to Rome and doing films that challenge the conventional

Kaushik Mukherjee, ‘Q’
Kaushik Mukherjee, ‘Q’

Tasher Desh is part of Cinema XXI at the Rome International Film Festival. What are the sort of films that are shown here?

Cinema XXI is about looking beyond classic filmmaking sensibilities to find new ways of telling stories. The world’s best, Mike Figgis, Kaurismaki and Larry Clark, against fresh stock like me.

It’s a departure from Tagore’s original work?

Tagore wrote the original as a play. I had to turn it inside out. Those sold on the archaic way of accessing Tagore may not share my views.

Biggest competitors? Favourite directors?

Filmmaking isn’t a competitive sport. It’s an artistic choice. Many filmmakers thrill me: Takashi Miike, Sion Sono and Mike Figgis, etc.

Working with co-producer Anurag Kashyap?

Smooth. He’s an excellent producer, interested in pushing the boundaries of Indian cinema.

Gandu courted controversy. Anticipate a similar response from Indian audiences?

I don’t think it’ll elicit a similar response, simply because it is very different from Gandu. It will challenge the Indian audience in a different way.

How important is commercial success?

Quite a bit. I wouldn’t call it commercial success. I think of it as economic feasibility. The important thing is making our cinema viable.

Is Cannes next?

That we’ve shown it in Rome more or less rules out the big festivals. Many A-list festivals have shown interest. Hopefully, we will be able to take it to other places around the world.

Will Indian viewers accept the unconventional?

I’m optimistic. Even discounting the people who watched Gandu for the sex, there are many who are interested in alternative content.

How is the Roman holiday going?

Rii (girlfriend) is here. We’re having a ball.

What’s next?

Been shooting a documentary, Sari, for about two years—to be finished next year. Rii and I look to celebrating women and design.

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