10 years after his second directorial venture Split Wide Open, internationally acclaimed filmmaker Dev Benegal is ready with his next film Road, Movie. The film starring Abhay Deol, Tanishtha Chatterjee and Satish Kaushik in lead roles talks about the concept of showing movies on the go, a tradition still very prevalent in the interiors and heartlands of India. Says Dev, "Shocking as it may sound, 70% of the Indian population still watches movie outdoors. The first time I went to a small village on the outskirts of Maharashtra, nearly 3000 people had gathered to watch a film. The next time somewhere in Rajasthan nearly 4.5 lakh people had come together to watch a film. These are places where there is none of the basic amenities of life like water, electricity and yet the enthusiasm of these folks to watch a film is something out of this world. It's like a carnival atmosphere. This is an extraordinary Indian phenomenon and when I saw the diaspora of people who had gathered together to watch the film, I was taken aback. There were small children, young couples, families and the elderly crowd all of them geared for their dose of entertainment at a meager price of just Rs.10 per ticket. I thought of it as a kind of social networking ala Facebook in flesh and blood and it increased my belief in the making of Road, Movie."
After casting Rahul Bose in his first two films, Dev Benegal has opted for yet another unconventional actor-Abhay Deol this time around. Commenting on his choice of actors, Dev says, "I was looking for somebody who was young and embodies the character of Vishnu. I didn't really have anybody in mind while writing the film. I happened to meet Abhay at a dinner in New York and the minute I met him it was like one of those 'Aaahaa' moments. I knew I had found my guy. He's extremely talented, has a tremendous on-screen presence and we got along really well. As for Tanishtha, I have known her for a while right from the time when she was part of a girl band called Teer. She maybe new in Bollywood but is a big star in international cinema and was perfect for the part. I have been wanting to work with Satish Kaushik since the last 20 years ever since I met him on the sets of Mandi where I was an assistant director. When I finished writing the script I immediately called him up from New York and told him that I would love to have him in the film. He read the script and agreed to be a part of Road, Movie."
After having made the rounds of various film festivals at Toronto, Doha, Tokyo and Berlin, the film finally opens in India this Friday and Dev is obviously excited to gauge the Indian audiences' response to the film. "We've got tremendous response wherever we have shown the film be it Toronto, Doha, Tokyo or Berlin. After the Toronto premiere all our actors were mobbed by eager fans and there was this whole street full of ladies who were screaming Abhay's name. The incredible part is that here is a film which is entirely in Hindi (there is not a word of English in it) and yet found a connect with people from different parts of the world. It reiterates the fact that if we make stories from the heart, audiences will discover them."