Q&A WITH SANAL KU­MAR SASIDHARAN

SAN AL KU­MAR SA SID HA RAN, di­rec­tor, on his new film, les­sons Durga in democ­racy, and the S con­tro­versy

India Today - - INSIDE - —with Sukant Deepak

Q Tell us some­thing about your lat­est film Chola.

Chola is a story cen­tring around a teenage girl who has run away to a big city with her lover. A road film, it is not po­lit­i­cal like my ear­lier ones, in­clud­ing S Durga (2017) and Un­madiyude Maranam (2017), but a per­sonal one. I would not like to re­veal too much about the film but, yes, it is spread over hap­pen­ings over three days.

Q S Durga was also a long road trip and was tense through­out?

Well, the sim­i­lar­ity ends there. Chola and S Durga are starkly dif­fer­ent in terms of sub­ject and treat­ment.

Q How do you look back at all the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing S Durga?

Hon­estly, S Durga has been a les­son in life and In­dian democ­racy. I have learnt that one can­not ex­pect jus­tice de­spite ju­di­cial in­ter­ven­tion as long as the ex­ec­u­tive does not want to en­force it. The film was passed with­out a sin­gle cut by the Cen­sor Board, and with only a re­quest to change the ti­tle. How­ever, we were still un­able to screen it at IFFI as the gov­ern­ment did not al­low it. De­spite the fact that I got a court or­der in my favour, they de­cided to de­lay the ap­peal from their side. Noth­ing could be done then. And I was a prac­tis­ing lawyer be­fore go­ing be­hind the cam­era.

Q You have been pretty vo­cal about the need to have all-women film crews?

Yes, be­ing part of the Kazhcha Film Fo­rum that is en­cour­ag­ing all-women film crews, I feel that the time has come for women artists to make their own films. They have the sen­si­bil­ity and the au­di­ence is open to good con­tent. Es­pe­cially in times of #metoo and the Sabari­mala tem­ple con­tro­versy.

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