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A chit chat with Amol Palekar

Courtesy: IndiaFM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Amol Palekar ruled the silver screen for over a decade from 1970. His charming image of a common man that anyone could identify with carved an unparallel niche in contrast to the larger than life heroes prevalent at that time. He received three Filmfare awards and six state awards as best actor. As a director he is especially known for his sensitive portrayal of women and perceptive handling of progressive issues.

First there was Dayraa, then Anaahat and now it's Quest. Why are you making films based on sexuality driven themes?
It is not about a sexual driven theme. I am talking about man-woman driven relationships with sexuality as the focus. I think there is a great difference between the words sex, sexual and sexuality. So let's not confuse things. But having said that I wanted to do a trilogy on a man-woman relationship with sexuality which started in 1996 with Dayraa. Then I did Anahaat and this is the third in the trilogy.

Tell us about Quest.
As I said it is the third part of the trilogy. It is about contemporary life in a city like Mumbai of a young professional couple. It's about how they deal with the stress of the contemporary life and more than that it is about Sai my protagonist. She is a lawyer in the Mumbai High Court and her husband is Aditya, a chef in a five star hotel. Both are highly professional people. What happens when Sai realizes that Aditya is having a homosexual relationship is what the film is about. Her quest to deal with this crisis, her search to find the answers that have affected their relationship, how she deals with this, how her parents cope with this and all the familial situations and how they deal with the crisis is what my film Quest is about.

Compared to Paheli, this is a relatively smaller star-cast.
Before Paheli, my films also had a smaller star-cast. To me, the film that I want to make and the story that I want to share with the audience is of utmost importance. If stars are necessary for my film then I approach them. I don't depend on the star cast to make my films.

Films bases on homo-sexuality or lesbianism haven't always met with the best kind of response from different groups. Don't you think your film can meet with the same fate?
I don't think my film will have a problem. The issues that I am dealing with are not for any kind of sensational purposes nor are they for decorative purposes. I am dealing with a man-woman relationship and not with homo-sexuality as the focal point. Homo-sexuality is one of the issues that I am discussing in context with their relationship. So I don't think there should be any problem. But yes, it is a taboo kind of subject and when we talk about sexuality we become alarmed unnecessarily. But I don't think there is anything to be alarmed about.

How did you workout the star cast?
I make my films because I want to share a particular story with as many people possible. That has always been the starting point of my creative journey while making a film. I don't start from the star cast and then go to the story. I start with the story and then go to the star cast. I have made films with stars like Nana Patekar, Sonali Bendre, Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Amitabh Bachchan, Deepti Naval. I also happened to make a film with a star called Amol Palekar. So a big star cast is nothing new to me. My characters need to be good actors to begin with. I take them for their acting capacity and not for their stardom. If they are stars or super stars then it is a bonus that I am getting. What I am looking at is the performance and the actors in this film have given superb performances.

What role does music play in this film? Are there songs or is it more focused on the background?

How did Paheli come in the middle of this trilogy?
Trilogy doesn't mean I make 3 films one after the other. Trilogy means a thematic trilogy. It is not a sequel to any film. A thematic bond between three films is called a trilogy. It's not as if Dayraa part 2 is Anaahat and Dayraa 3 is Quest.

Tell us in one line what is the USP of the film.
A good film-an excellent film! A film which people would not only love to see but also take it home with them and not keep it back in the auditorium with the empty pop-corn boxes.

Anurag Kashyap recently questioned the reason why are Indian films being made in English when it has an Indian theme and has so much to do with our native language and culture. Also people abroad do not seem to understand our English accent. Your comments on this considering that your film is being made in English and Marathi.
I think it's very simple. Let me ask you why are we talking in English and not in Spanish. Anurag also made this statement in English I believe. He didn't say it in Hindi.

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