My films are about Indian towns, says the director and screenwriter
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OT: How has travel influenced your movies? Have you ever been tempted to incorporate a travel experience into a movie script?
Shoojit Sircar: My travels to Kerala over the years have always inspired and influenced me — I visit the backwaters there every year. So, although the story of Madras Café is set in Sri Lanka, we created most of it in Kerala’s backwaters. The Imperial Hotel in Delhi was also on my wish list. I managed to shoot a sequence there too, and if I may say so myself, it looks fabulous in the movie.
OT: Which destinations do you like to travel to in India?
Shoojit Sircar: I am in love with the hills of Himachal Pradesh, especially the Kullu area. Every year I go exploring the mountains there. A friend has a farmhouse in Naggar Valley and I try to go there every 6-7 months. Kolkata recharges me as well, and so does the monsoon of Mumbai — the city is at its best during the rains.
OT: Are you a foodie? Which is your favourite food destination and cuisine?
Shoojit Sircar: I love Bengali food, of course, and the rajma-chawal from the roadside stalls in Delhi just freaks me out. Had a lot of this delicious dish when we were shooting for Vicky Donor.
OT: Any travel disasters? Your worst trip?
Shoojit Sircar: Last year, we got stuck in Manali thanks to a huge landslide. We stopped overnight, and when we woke up the next morning, we realised that our small 207 truck was stuck in snow and it just refused to start. We finally bought a plough and dug out about 200m of snow. We were feeling so exhilarated that we decided to carry snow back with us to Delhi. We bought plastic bags and packed them with snow, Unfortunately, all the snow melted by the time we reached Chandigarh.
OT: Which destinations are on your holiday wish list?
Shoojit Sircar: I had been longing to visit Arunachal Pradesh and succeeded in going there after the monsoon this year. It was quite an experience.
OT: Which is your dream destination to shoot a movie in?
Shoojit Sircar: Scandinavian countries are the most stunning visually — I am planning to shoot a movie there soon.
OT: Do you like to read? Which book are you reading now?
Shoojit Sircar: I enjoy reading. I’m currently reading Massacre at JallianwalaBagh and a book of Gorky’s stories. I want to read Life of Pi next — I’ve seen the movie and quite enjoyed it.
OT: What are the three things you always pack?Shoojit Sircar: I always carry a muffler, puffed rice and some homeopathy medicine.
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