Friday, April 07, 2006
Director Pankuj Parashar needs no introduction. After films like Jalwa, Chaalbaaz, Rajkumar, Himalayputra, Tumko Na Bhool Payenge and Inteqam, this time Parashar attempts to experiment with the theme and treatment of his film Banaras. It is a spiritual drama and a mystical love story. IndiaFM spoke to the filmmaker about his experience of making the film Banaras.
How did the movie Banaras happen?
I was doing a lot of TV commercials for L C Singh. We used to discuss spirituality and existence. And when he told me that he wants to make a movie rather than writing a novel, it took me a while to get over that. I agreed but knew that it will cost a lot of money. It could be 5 to 6 crores or even more. But Singh didn't blink and said that he is putting the money and I would have to do this film.
It seems to be a spiritual film. Tell us more about this film.
I don't think it's a spiritual film. It's a love story with undercurrents of spirituality in a way. It is a film based on a love story, which borrows a lot from the spirituality of Banaras. There is a conflict and something happens to Urmila. It's about how Urmila goes through an entire process. How she understands and deals with it. The mother- daughter relationship is the key of the film. Both have their own ideologies in life. There are different layers of romanticism. The film also deals with the emotional conflict.
Naseeruddin Shah is playing god in the movie.
After reading the script I called Naseer and told him we have a good and bad news for him. The good news is I am making a spiritual movie and directing it. And the bad news is you are playing god in it (laughs). Naseer agreed to play this role.
Urmila has an image of a glamorous actress. How did you manage to take her for a spiritual subject?
Urmila is neither a complete commercial actress nor related to parallel or art cinema. She is an actress whom you can mould into any form of cinema. When she heard the script, she agreed to do the film instantly. In fact, Dimple was so fascinated by Urmila's character that she said she would have done this role, if she was young.
How did you manage to assemble such an interesting star cast?
With lot of care and a lot of chamchagiri.
How was it shooting in a holy place like Banaras?
Mr. Singh was quite adamant and wanted to shoot at the original location. I think I had the greatest satisfaction shooting, in terms of visiting places and getting the ethos of Banaras. I have made 14 films but this is the only film where we shot in time. We had a perfect shoot. People called me to say that the locals will not let me shoot in Banaras. Nothing of that sort happened. In fact after knowing about the subject, people welcomed us and treated very well.
After shooting in Banaras did you felt spiritually touched?
It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I think most of our star cast experienced the spiritual instinct after visiting the place. Dimple experienced the same power in her. Ashmit went through an emotional catharsis. He cried a lot at the Buddha stupa. Urmila read a lot about the mysticism of Banaras. It was very good experience for all of us.
Himesh is doing lot of music videos these days. Are you planning any music video to promote Banaras?
No. we thought of it. But I guess this is not a movie where he can wear a cap and sing sad songs, shedding lot of tears. It does not suit the subject. Himesh is in his best form. Hegave very nice tunes in Banaras. The Holi song is one of his best compositions.
What is the USP of this film?