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Arindam's Shoonya is on match fixing

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By: Avanti Dixit, IndiaFM
Friday, March 30, 2007
After the unfortunate loss of team India at the World Cup there have been many a speculations as to why we lost out on the Cup. Well when a team looses a match the reason can be anything from not being physically fit to match fixing.

Match fixing is a big nexus and this very issue will be dealt with in a film directed by Arindam Mitra. Arindam Mitra who has earlier produced Black Friday has been a student of world cinema "The closest I came to filmmaking was Black Friday. That is because I wanted to make a film in any case. Black Friday taught me the tricks of the trade. I have also been a student of cinema for a long time".

So with films like Hattrick and Say Salaam India that revolve around cricket, will his film on match-fixing to be revolving around the sport? The director clarifies the doubts "The film is not on cricket. It's a film on sacrifice. Match fixing is the underlying theme of the film. I have used cricket and match fixing only as a metaphor in the film. It's got very little to do with cricket and more to do with human emotions".

And what does the title Shoonya imply? "Shoonya (Zero) on one hand means the score in cricket and on the other hand it has other implications, like on the philosophical and metaphysical level it stands for nothingness".

The film which was chosen as an entry for the Rotterdam film festival is loosely inspired from the play 'Murder in the Cathedral' by T.S Elliot. "Murder in the Cathedral explores sacrifice and so does my film. The play applies to the film in some methods. But obliviously this is cinema and Murder in the Cathedral was a play", explains Mitra.

The film stars Kay Kay Menon whose performance is supposed to be quite impressive "He is obliviously the main character. And it's through him that you see the draft that gets laid out in the film. It's pretty much a film where the camera follows him in terms of his journey. We have tried a very different tone of language in the film. We have tried to make it devoid of all cinematic drama or melodrama. It's a difficult kind of structure which we have used. Kay Kay's performance is not de-towering but is very understated, that's really what we wanted to achieve".

Interestingly Kay Kay is equally impressed by Arindam Mitra and says, "Arindam is a student of world cinema whose views about world cinema is very pragmatic and intelligent". Arindam brushes off the compliments modestly saying, "I don't know what Kay Kay means. I think actors can't say bad things about their directors especially for a film that is going to be released soon." So how does he describe himself in his own words? "Well to describe myself, this is my first film and also could be my last film. I am not distinct to cover, I mean both in terms of my craft and politics in cinema. I would not like to comment on myself right now. Rather let Kay Kay do that", he laughs off.

The other actors who star in the film include Tulip Joshi, Seema Biswas and Ninad Kamat. But the added attraction for the film is definitely Naseeruddin Shah and Satish Kaushik. Naseer has played a cricket coach in the film Iqbal. So will this film too see him in a similar role "No he doesn't play a similar character? You will have to watch the film to know about his character. I still don't know what he plays in the film. It's an enigmatic kind of character". Talk about Satish Kaushik and you will instantly think of him in a comedy role. But ask the director and he will beg to differ "In the film Satish is not playing a comic character at all. He is a surprise package and is outstanding in the film. When Sudhir Mishra came out during the interval of the film he said I am calling Satish right now to tell him this is his best performance till date"

The group Indian Ocean which composed music for Black Friday will be seen composing for Shoonya too. So what does the band have in store this time "Indian Ocean has played these tunes which have been never played before. The music is very jazzy. They have played the saxophone and the clarinet which you have never heard before".

So now that the film is all set to release what are the director's future plans "I am working on a few things. But right now I am not in production. I am writing something for someone else which is a commissioned script. The next film which I want to make is already written. That's the film that went to Pusan. Pusan festival picks up some scripts from around the world and then they showcase them".

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