'I am enjoying real Madrasi coffee'

PARALLEL Cinema

He refers to the actor in himself as a distinct entity, different from
his identity as a filmmaker.

Known as one of the torchbearers of parallel cinema, Amol Palekar is not just another director or actor but an icon who has clung to his choice of cinema and still manages to do that with élan.

“I was privileged in my time to have acted with every top director in the country, starting from the most veteran to the youngest. I also happen to have the credit in my balance, to be probably the only one to act with so many newcomers,” the veteran actor says during a tête-à-tête with Metrolife. 

Having completed 45 years this year in the film industry, the actor considers himself fortunate to “have chosen to make a particular kind of film because that’s what I believe in. Over my long journey of 45 years in the show business, I am very proud that I could go on doing what I wanted to do so consistently, and not what people or the market wants me to, and thrived on it.”

As a filmmaker, he had complete clarity about casting. “Whenever I needed a star, I have acted with him. I acted with a tremendous star called Deepti Naval and along with her was the most difficult actor to deal with, Amol Palekar,” he says referring to the actor within him.

Elucidating he adds, “He was also another star, who went on saying ‘no’ to nine films before saying ‘yes’ to the tenth one,” Amol states adding that his casting in Paheli “Was probably the biggest in number with Shah Rukh, Rani Mukherjee, Amitabh Bachchan and the whole jingbang. I did not take Shah Rukh Khan not because he was a superstar, but because he is a very fine actor.”

The talk drifts from parallel cinema to documentaries since he is heading the jury for the forthcoming Vatavaran film festival and the actor-director questions, “Why do we talk of only feature films? Why don't we think about watching a good documentary? The manufacturer always decides what it wants to flood the market with.

We have been flooding the market with feature films and most of them are atrociously bad.”

“Over the years we have been brainwashed into thinking that films are basically supposed to entertain. But entertainment can be in so many different ways,” he says, emphasising on the need for different films such as “A Wednesday, Pan Singh Tomar, Kahaani and Lootera which have been applauded.

Why do we keep saying people don’t like these films? This is because we are scared and incapable of giving them more options because somewhere we have this intrinsic fear that they may like that more and reject me,” he says metaphorically, referring to the filmmakers who are vying to be in the 100 crore club.

Amol feels that “We are getting bogged down by problems which are not worthy and the  audience is happy consuming whatever is given to them. If you are happy consuming Barista or CCD coffee, you will never know the pleasure of real coffee. The choice is yours. But I am enjoying the pleasure of real Madrasi coffee,” he signs
off in his inimitable style.

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