I make movies from my heart: Shekhar Kapur on longevity of his cinema
Human emotions are at the heart of storytelling and a director simply translates that idea for the audiences on the big screen, believes Shekhar Kapur, the director of classic hits such as Masoom, Mr India and the Elizabeth series.The filmmaker, who has had successful parallel careers in India and Hollywood, has returned to film direction after a gap of 16 years with British romantic comedy in Whats Love Got To Do With It, starring Shabana Azmi, Emma Thompson, Lily James, Shazad Latif and Sajal Aly.I make my movies from my heart.
Human emotions are at the heart of storytelling and a director simply translates that idea for the audiences on the big screen, believes Shekhar Kapur, the director of classic hits such as ''Masoom'', ''Mr India'' and the ''Elizabeth'' series.
The filmmaker, who has had successful parallel careers in India and Hollywood, has returned to film direction after a gap of 16 years with British romantic comedy in ''What's Love Got To Do With It?'', starring Shabana Azmi, Emma Thompson, Lily James, Shazad Latif and Sajal Aly.
''I make my movies from my heart. Storytelling is an emotional idea. As long as that emotion is relevant, the movie is relevant,” Kapur told PTI in a virtual interview.
Kapur said his new film, which released in India last week, is being liked in different territories as viewers can identify themselves in the story.
''Storytelling is about being human. You, as a filmmaker, have to tell me, as an audience, my story, wherever I exist in the world. That's what we try to do. And that's why people are liking ‘What's Love Got To Do With It?’ because it feels like it's their movie.'' Asked about the longevity of his 1983 family drama ''Masoom'' and 1987's sci-fi film ''Mr India'', the director said he has never let a genre confine him.
''I've never limited myself to genres. Life exists in a film. Do not let the genre define you, don’t let it confine you. Within a genre, there is life. Like, if I can recognise myself in your science fiction film, then I'll go see it, otherwise, why will I go? Just to see visual effects? Nobody goes to see visual effects, they go to see themselves,'' he said. Similarly, his focus was to bring a childlike innocence to ''Mr India'', the Anil Kapoor-Sridevi starrer drama about an orphan who finds his scientist father's secret formula that grants him invisibility.
''I was making ‘Mr India’ for children. I used to have an 11-year-old boy, an imaginary mini-Shekhar, sitting next to me. Every time I shot; I would ask him ‘what do you think?' I was constantly having a conversation with my 11-year-old self when I was making ‘Mr India’ and it was fun. So, I think the innocence and the joy of making that film can be seen,” he said.
Kapur, 77, said he still gets calls and messages on the impact that both ''Masoom'' and ''Mr India'' have had on people, including the younger generation.
''For ‘Masoom’, I am constantly getting calls from all over the world from parents saying, 'my kids won't eat unless I put ‘Ladki ki Kathi’ (song from the film). Similarly, most of the fans of 'Mr India' are now watching the film on video.
''And I've been talking to Boney (Kapoor, producer) and everybody that let's re-release ‘Mr India’ in 3D, let people get the experience of that film once again in the theatre, because 95 per cent of the people continue to watch that film and not get a theatrical experience,'' he added.
It was writer and producer Jemima Khan who approached him with the idea for ''What's Love Got To Do With It?'', a cross-cultural love story.
''Jemima Khan has been writing the script for a long time, she was kind of inspired by her own story because she was married in Lahore to Imran Khan (former Pakistan Prime Minister and cricketer). So, part of it was kind of inspired by her own experiences,'' he said.
''It (the film) started three years ago, (but) it got delayed because COVID-19 came in. We shot this film in the middle of COVID-19. I did not know whether I'd be able to shoot the next day or who would go down with COVID,'' he recalled. Set between London and Lahore, the film delves into how different cultures look at love and marriage.
Kapur said when he read the script of ''What's Love Got To Do With It?'', he realised the concept of love, cross-culture wedding and celebration is similar around the world. Citing the example of hits such as ''Crazy Rich Asians'' (2018) and ''My Big Fat Greek Wedding'' (2016), Kapur said: ''It is just called arranged marriage in India because they used to be marriages between families. So, it just goes right across (the world),'' he added.
The film's story demanded a diverse cast, the director said, adding that Azmi, the star of ''Masoom'', was an obvious choice to play the mother to Latif's character.
''Shabana was such an obvious cast, I'd worked with her before (in 'Masoom'), I knew that she could carry off any part. I knew that she would be so subtle. Whether it's a comic or tragic or emotional (scene), she was shifting a little bit here and there and giving the best,'' he said.
Kapur said it was more of a fanboy moment for him to direct Thompson.
''I'm a fanboy, I've been watching her for so many years and she's so famous and so good. She needed a little bit of convincing to come aboard, but once she came aboard, it was an absolute dream.
''Also, because she's a director, she understands what the director wants. She was very free and brought a lot to the plot. She was incredible to work with, very giving,'' he said.
Speaking of a song-dance sequence in the movie, in which Thompson is seen shaking her legs, the director said it was a visual delight to see her dance.
''It's part of the celebrations. Like, how it happens between the family of the bride and groom, the dance off. So, I thought, ‘Oh, what fun if Emma Thompson can dance?’. And she did,'' he said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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