'You don't need producers anymore'

'You don't need producers anymore'

'You don't need producers anymore'

optimistic Kiran Rao dh photo by janardhan b k

Kiran Rao was in town recently to promote her directorial debut Dhobi Ghat.
There has always been a lot of speculation about where she is actually from.
About her roots, she says, “I am originally from the South, my father is from Mysore and my mother is from a community called Chitrapur Saraswat. I speak Konkani as my mom talks to us in that language. I don’t really speak Kannada and have spent my growing up years in Kolkata.”

Dhobi Ghat is an independent film. “I think the scenario of independent films in India is looking up. It is an optimistic place to be. There are a lot more producers willing to back new and interesting stories,” she says.

She also believes that it is truly exciting times for young film-makers. “With technology being easily accessible these days, you can actually make a film on your cellphone. If I didn’t have Aamir as a producer, I was sure that I would have rented a video camera and shot it. It is possible to do so. I think films that are extremely challenging can be made on a low budget. Just because you have the money to shoot in New Zealand doesn’t mean it is a good film or going to turn out better. I don’t think you need producers anymore, the problem really is not producing but the distribution of the movie,” she adds.

If distribution is the issue, she says that technology aids at that front too.  “You can always put your movie onto YouTube or make DVDs and give it to people. However, reaching out to a wider audience is possible through film festivals where your film gets increased visibility and you find buyers who will launch you in other markets or your own market.”

After talking about the business of film-making, it was time to get a little personal. Does she feel overshadowed by the fact that she is Aamir Khan’s wife and has had instances where people do not take her seriously?

She says, “Well, I haven’t felt it so far, people have been generous and interested in what I have to say. Most people whose opinion I bother about know me as a film person as I have been in the industry much before I married Aamir.”

However, she does agree that there have been prejudices when it comes to her film as people expect it to be a typical Aamir Khan movie.

About the world premiere of Dhobi Ghat at the Toronto International Film Festival, she says, “It was great. I was surprised by the response. The audience who came there seemed like they had come to watch another Ghajini. They were so excited and were cheering. There were 1,700 people, which is an enormous crowd for your first screening. It was definitely frightening and on screen, all I could see were the flaws in the movie. However, during the screening, I noticed that people were really reacting to the film; responding to the small jokes and were quiet in certain instances. The questions after the film were wonderful and it was a dream screening for me.”