August 08, 2020
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Pamela Rooks

The director of Train to Pakistan on why the release of her film ran into trouble

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Pamela Rooks
Train to Pakistan was completed several months ago. Why hasn't it been released yet?
The certificate was delivered only late last month though we had all clearances in October. We'd booked 60 theatres and had to cancel them. It happened again the second time. Now it's finally been released in Mumbai.

What exactly did the censors object to?
They wanted 38 cuts. We were agreeable to six audio changes but not to the visual changes. Our stand has been vindicated by the tribunal.

What's your reaction to your film not being selected for competition?
I'm not sure what the rule is about the number of films that can participate in the competition from one country. I think the whole idea of having an international film festival here should be to give exposure to Indian filmmakers.

Has the jury cited any reasons?
Not really.

Is it more difficult mounting a film as a woman director?
Of course it is. You've to work doubly hard. I've been working till the very last minute.

What was the experience of handling a big film like Train to Pakistan?
It's a miracle that the film got made. We made a good film but it could have been a great film. That's the difference.

The author is happy with your adaptation of his book but not others?
It's impossible to make an epic with a small budget. No director could have done better. The only person I was concerned with was Khushwant and he loved it.

What is your next project?
I don't quite know. I want to make a film on Begum Samru but it requires a big budget and we are testing the waters for that.

Kalpana Lajmi has had problems with R.V. Pandit. What was your experience with him as he was part producer of your film?
He's a very straightforward person. I wouldn't hesitate to work with him again.

Were you happy with the reaction to Miss Beatty's Children?
I got mediocre and good reviews. It was shown at least six times on television. But we need multiplexes to release films like that. The film was a start for me.

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