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Q and A with Ashutosh Gowariker

Discussion in 'Swades' started by Wafa, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Wafa

    Wafa I want my Mom!!!

    Published: Volume 13, Issue 2, March-April 2005
    What seems a similar thought process is not in fact so – let's make the distinction between the patriotism in Lagaan and the nationalism in Swades.

    His is hardly one of those spectacular, overnight success stories taking the lead in entertainment news splashes. But Ashutosh Gowariker's steady passion for intelligent cinema has held the world's attention following Lagaan and now, Swades.

    In a candid conversation with Meher Marfatia, the former actor and self-confessed movie junkie, who retrospectively feels he "would not have been anywhere except behind the camera, however tempting the choice", reveals a passionately honest stand on movie making, notions of nationalism at the core of his new film and explains why he thinks Indian audiences rock

    He’s come a long way since his early modelling assignments for Lifebuoy soap and Close-Up toothpaste. Taking to film direction after almost a decade of facing the camera himself, Ashutosh Gowariker once acted in Hindi and Marathi films, television serials and commercials, the diverse exposure “whetting the appetite to helm a project”. Beginning with directing such forgettable flicks as Pehla Nasha and Baazi in the mid ’90s, he struck solid gold in 2001.

    He recently launched his own company, Ashutosh Gowariker Productions, with Swades. The film may not exactly have opened to ringing box-office registers, but it reinforces his image of a diehard iconoclast, continuing to fashion the cinema of his conviction.

    There’s such heightened idealism in Swades. Did you settle for the NRI-returns-to-roots focus with the feeling that Indians need a sobering dose of this right now?

    I’m already late. This film should have happened in the late ’80s; by the early ’90s at least. But I was not making films then, I was acting! This growing notion of the country going to the dogs is frightening because of the ease with which it’s become dinner party conversation.

    It’s too casual…this talk bemoaning rural-urban migration, overpopulation...were it earnest discussion, even if despairing, that’s alright. Because where there’s despair, there can also be hope, giving it gravity.

    You’re hailed as the filmmaker who’s finally made Shah Rukh Khan “act”, in a way that the sternest reviewers have sat up to take note…

    There’s been this comfort level between Shah Rukh and me, right from our TV and film acting career phases together during Circus, Chamatkar and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. With due credit to Shah Rukh, he understood and accepted the way I wanted him to interpret Mohan Bhargava’s role. He could have easily have said, “Ash, let’s not begin experimenting with what I’ve done well enough for 15 years.”

    What I wondered was how viewers would accept Shah Rukh in a realistic role so unlike his usual romantic musical hero tag. Years ago, when Amitabh Bachchan made a movie like Alaap, with a Hindustani classical music background, for the life of me I couldn’t bring myself to see it, simply unprepared to reconcile Bachchan’s angry young man action antics from the Zanjeer and Don days into a totally new context.

    What about the criticism that Swades could do with editing, that it drags and overdoes the sermonising through long stretches…

    To an extent, I accept it’s preachy in parts. I’ve deliberately kept to adopting a slightly naïve approach in the film. Otherwise, going any beyond, I should be writing a book on the subject. I disagree about cutting the overall length. There’s a quiet rhythm to village life as it slowly unfolds. To create dramatic thrust highlighting sections of the story, I’ve consciously stayed away from a pace we’re used to, the impatient “Okay, get on with it” kind. It doesn’t work like that in real life there
    MaryAnnK says thanks.
  2. annous

    annous New Member

    I love AG... such an intelligent person, and a superb director... hopefully SRK will work with him in the future, because it's films like Swades that will cement his legacy as the greates actor ever.
  3. sid_dreamz

    sid_dreamz New Member

    Great article.
    Good to see AG's perspective.

  4. Astri

    Astri New Member

    He acted very well in Swades. We can only see Mohan Bhargav is Shahrukh.:thumb:
  5. rubyroo

    rubyroo Art student. Inspired by him.

    Shah Rukh does what he is asked to do. If they ask him to be Raj or Rahul, he is Raj or Rahul. If they ask him to be Mohan or Kabir Khan then that is who he will be. He will always surprise everyone because he is always ABLE to do whatever he is asked to do with grace and intelligence. (I don't believe in limitations for Shah Rukh!)
    MaryAnnK, Debbie and Xeny thank this.
  6. AnnuSuhana

    AnnuSuhana Member

    Shahrukh khan is the only actor actor who is god of versatility in acting...

    He can push a girl to throw him from multi-story buildings and even can die for girl in Devdas...

    He can potray nationalism with Swadesh and patriotism with Pardesh and Army and even can play a role of Don...

    He can love a girl like rahul (in Darr) and even can play Raj in DDLJ...

    He is also a Suri from RNBDJ and also vijay agnihoti from anjaam... :)

    He is just amazing... :)
    MaryAnnK and rubyroo thank this.

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