Real life miss­ing in In­dian films, says Ma­jid Ma­jidi


AS some­one who counts Satya­jit Ray as a huge in­flu­ence, Ma­jid Ma­jidi de­cided to set his lat­est film “Be­yond the Clouds” in Mum­bai streets, which he be­lieves, are full of in­cred­i­ble he­roes try­ing to lead a life of dig­nity in the face of strug­gle.

The Ira­nian di­rec­tor has al­ways been fas­ci­nated with Ray’s cin­e­matic out­look and how his he­roes come from ev­ery­day life, some­thing that he feels is miss­ing in In­dian cin­ema to­day. “Satya­jit Ray’s films had an ef­fect on me. They in­spired me to fol­low a cer­tain in­ter­pre­ta­tion of life. And (I would like) to in­flu­ence younger gen­er­a­tion. In ‘Pather Pan­chali,’ there is a re­spect that he has for his hero, even in the poverty. His he­roes come from this class of so­ci­ety and they are try­ing for life,” Ma­jidi said in an in­ter­view.

“Strug­gling peo­ple are my he­roes. I am not glo­ri­fy­ing poverty, it is bad. (But) I be­lieve that a per­son has a lot of in­te­rior val­ues that we do not see,” he added. The di­rec­tor says it was a dream come true to set one of his films in In­dia, which he be­lieves, is cul­tur­ally very close to Iran. “I al­ways wanted to make a film in In­dia as it is a dra­matic coun­try with dra­matic lo­ca­tions. The streets and the al­leys of Bom­bay are full of sto­ries, some­thing that you can’t find any­where else. I al­ways won­dered why we do not see such kind of sto­ries in In­dian cin­ema. Apart from Satya­jit Ray, Shyam Bene­gal and Mira Nair, you rarely find these sto­ries in the cin­ema here.”

Ma­jidi says he has al­ways been cu­ri­ous to ex­plore other cul­tures and peo­ple and be­lieves one can learn some­thing unique from those one en­coun­ters in life. “When I was a child, I al­ways wanted to know what was hap­pen­ing on the other side of the wall. In In­dia, the walls are bro­ken, you see a lot of things. I re­cently saw an old man on the street try­ing to take a bath with very lit­tle wa­ter whereas I had used a lot of wa­ter in the ho­tel. I felt ashamed to have done that. Next day, I tried to use as lit­tle wa­ter as I could.” The di­rec­tor said he feels alive when he is on a film set, craft­ing his next story. “When I am mak­ing a film, I feel I am liv­ing. When I am not mak­ing a film, I feel I am not liv­ing. For me, mak­ing films is like breath­ing. So I want (to con­tinue mak­ing films) till I can. It does not mean that I don’t like the other part of my life. But it is pri­vate, hid­den. What will re­main for me in the world is what I make and this is the rea­son I love this part (film­mak­ing) of my life,” he said. Ma­jidi is known for his unique sen­si­tiv­ity in por­tray­ing day-to-day life which he im­bues with beauty and em­pa­thy. His “Chil­dren of Heaven” was nom­i­nated for an Os­car in the Best For­eign Lan­guage cat­e­gory.

Ira­nian di­rec­tor has al­ways been cu­ri­ous to ex­plore other cul­tures

Ma­jid Ma­jidi’s “Be­yond the Clouds” is set to re­lease in In­dia on April 20

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