According to him the best film of the year is Peepli Live, the best actor Deepak Dubriyal but he really wasn’t very impressed by any actress. His all time favourite film is Pyaasa and he refuses to act in big films. I am talking about director and actor Rajat Kapoor. Amsterdam put the spotlight on Kapoor for four days by showing his films Mithya and Fatso plus his play Hamlet: The Clown Prince was performed. Bollyspice got together with him to chat about films, acting, directing and more.
The response in Amsterdam to Mithya was outstanding. Talking about why he made Mithya he said for him it was more of a philosophical film. “On the surface it’s a gangster film, but it’s also about identity. Mithya means a lie. Everything is a lie. Perception is a lie. You think your in this world, but maybe it’s a dream. The Indian concept of maya is very old, the whole world is an illusion. What interested me was that you think you are Rajat Kapoor, these are my children, this is my wife, I like to eat this, but if I was to lose all of this then who am I?”
Offbeat films don’t work, because we don’t have Shah Rukh Khan in them
According to Kapoor these different films, labelled offbeat films, have an audience nowadays.
“Of course they don’t work as well as the blockbuster movies”, says Kapoor. “That’s because we don’t have Shah Rukh Khan in it. Stars are big, even in Hollywood. If you have a Johnny Depp in the film, the perception is different. If you have Brad Pitt, it’s something else. But when you make the same film without him, it’s not the same thing. It might work, but to a lesser extent.”
He adds that the last few years have been bad for offbeat films, but he is glad the current lot of young filmmakers are trying their hand on different subjects, “The audience is also demanding different kind of cinema and these new filmmakers are teaching the audience by giving them something new.” He is happy to see that films made with very little money, like A Wednesday and Bheja Fry, have done really well.
I only make films I enjoy
Kapoor is very clear on what he wants to make: “I only make films I enjoy. It’s a question of sensibility. I like to make the kind of cinema that I enjoy watching. Also I went to a film school, and I am more interested in cinema as an art. I don’t think cinema should mean entertainment. Films should entertain for sure, but it can’t be only entertainment, then it’s boring for me.”
He played a few supporting roles in a few big films like Dil Chahta Hai, but now he refuses to do big films. “I am refusing to act in big films. They had asked me for a role in Don 2, but I refused.” Otherwise he would have been in Berlin now and not Amsterdam. “Yeah I would be in Berlin, for two months in this cold. No, thank you,” he says with a smile.
According to Kapoor, producers and directors of mainstream cinema have always compromised money and quantity over quality. “They have a starcast, but they don’t have story nor a script. The only thing they do well is that they picturize songs well.”
Indian Cinema, especially Bollywood, is growing every year. Audiences outside India have become more interested in these Bollywood-musicals. Germany in one of the many countries which fell in love with Bollywood. But it’s still not easy to break through to the western audience, but Kapoor thinks that is not necessary. “The most important thing is not to breakthrough to a western audience that will happen when it happens. We should concentrate on content, we should reach to our audience first. Make a film we believe in. That is important.”
But he does add that the Western perception about India needs to change. “The perception is that it’s still a Slumdog Millionaire country. That film reinforced that perception. The films of our new Indian filmmakers aren’t about poverty. Their films are about the new India. The West still think of us as the old India. That perception needs to change.”
His next projects include Phas Gaya Re Obama (which premiered at SAIFF in New York), I am 24, and Aparna Sen’s new film. We are definitely looking forward to seeing what he will bring to the screen next!