Ritesh loves telling In­dian sto­ries to the world

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - Rishabh Suri [email protected]

Film­maker Ritesh Batra has a global ap­peal to his works. His de­but The Lunch­box (2013) was loved in­ter­na­tion­ally. Last year, he di­rected English films The Sense of an End­ing and Our Souls at Night (2017) that starred ac­tors Jane Fonda and Robert Red­ford. His lat­est, Pho­to­graph, will be pre­miered at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val.

He is ec­static about the plat­form. “Sun­dance is an amaz­ing plat­form to start a film’s jour­ney. I like telling In­dian sto­ries to the world, and want to reach a global au­di­ence. There­fore, film fes­ti­vals are ex­tremely im­por­tant. The Lunch­box be­gan at Cannes, that’s where the trade comes and views. That’s where the au­di­ence is seated and then it gets re­leased quickly af­ter that.”

Since he has dab­bled with both English and Hindi films, we ask him if he finds any dif­fer­ence in the way ac­tors in the two in­dus­tries func­tion? “Each ac­tor is dif­fer­ent, of course .... How­ever, I don’t find that much dif­fer­ence be­tween ac­tors in the East and the West be­cause the process is al­ways the same,” he says, adding, “There are so many won­der­ful, well-trained ac­tors in In­dia, but we don’t have enough parts for them that de­serve their tal­ent. That’s what I am hop­ing my (pro­duc­tion) com­pany can con­trib­ute to in a small way.” Talk­ing of tal­ent, Batra shares that while the sto­ries chooses the ac­tors, he “wrote Pho­to­graph with ac­tor Nawazud­din Sid­diqui in mind”. He says, “The role is about a guy from a small vil­lage in Ut­tar Pradesh, who comes to Mum­bai and be­comes a pho­tog­ra­pher at the Gate­way of In­dia. No­body else but Nawaz could have played it.”As for the fe­male lead, ac­tor Sanya Mal­ho­tra, who plays a mid­dle-class girl, was given an au­di­tion call af­ter Batra “saw her in Dan­gal”.

The script­ing took five years. “I had been writ­ing it slowly and thought­fully. I started writ­ing it af­ter The Lunch­box re­leased. It’s also the first pro­duc­tion of my com­pany, so it felt dif­fer­ent. I had more re­spon­si­bil­ity and con­trol, and I al­ways want to con­trol cre­atively,” he says.

I like telling In­dian sto­ries to the world, and want to reach a global au­di­ence. So, film fes­ti­vals are ex­tremely im­por­tant RITESH BATRA FILM­MAKER

PHOTO: PRABHAT SHETTY/HT

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