'There's a fixed perspective towards Indian films'

'There's a fixed perspective towards Indian films'

Creative mind

Neeru Khera, from The Creative Gypsy that produced short films like The Untold Story of Paperboats and Aadha Chand Tum Rakhlo, believes that when it comes to portraying India through films people either show “extreme poverty” or “honky dory setup” with songs and glitter. But, according to her, both her films explore different perspectives.

While Paperboats is based on child soldiery, Aadha Chand Tum Rakhlo is about the friendship between two children from different religions. The movie Paperboats has been selected to be premiered at the 69th Cannes Film Festival and NICE International Film Festival of France whereas Aadha Chand… will be screened at NICE. Khera who will be attending Cannes and NICE later this month, talks to Metrolife and elaborates on her films as well as her passion the same.

Excerpts:

How does it feel visiting these festivals?
It’s very exciting. Sometimes I go through my mails again and again to check whether it’s true or just a dream. I feel so proud.  We’ve achieved this with a lot of passion and hard work.

How did these films happen?
An Untold Story of Paperboats was narrated to me by director and writer Amit Khanna. The script really touched my heart and I wanted to bring it to life. The story is about child soldiers in the jungles of West Bengal. Aadha Chand Tum Rakhlo is directed and written by Mayank Bokolia, who’s a poet and works for an NGO called Stop Acid Attack. We were sitting and chatting about secularism in India one evening when I asked him to jot down something on Hindu-Muslim relations and that’s how we came up with the
story. We faced a lot of challenges but the Creative Gypsy team came together and today we are proud that the film is going to be screened at Cannes and NICE.
 
How do you think Indian movies are accepted on a global platform?
People have a fixed perspective towards Indian films. They tend to show extreme poverty and portray India in the low light most of the times. If not low light, then it’ll be shown with a honky dory setup with songs and glitter, which to an extent is accepted by people. It is very important to hold the audience’s interest, therefore, moulding the story according to the contemporary scenario and not just Hindu-Muslim relations, is what I feel today’s audience is more interested in. Both these films are pertinent in almost every part of the world. I feel that actual happenings keep audience interested in the content, which decides the fate of a film globally.

Do you think such films can survive along with Bollywood movies?
They can only if they don’t compromise on quality. Big-budget movies don’t mean you’ve to compromise on the technical aspects. Cinema is an illusion, so even if we are showing harsh reality, it has to be coated in some form of illusion. It is not always about big names, exotic locations, expensive costumes or flashy stuff; but is about strong content. If you manage to keep the audience engrossed till the end, then it can be assured that such content-driven films can survive the larger-than-life Bollywood movies.

How did you get into film-making?
I was always interested in theatre. But after marriage, I lost touch with it. It was a couple of years back I thought of reviving. During that time, I met a lot of youngsters in this space. One of them offered me a role in his short film as well. Their passion motivated me, and I love working with the younger generation.

What are you working on next?
I am working on the sequel of our web-series All About Sec-377 and also planning another short film on mystic sadhus of Ujjain. I am thinking of a feature film which highlights the everyday life of a cancer patient.

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