TV Times

‘Sri Lanka is my second home’ - Saxena
By Dilshath Banu
Bollywood’s latest ‘experimental artist’ and the director of Jism (Body), Amit Saxena was in Sri Lanka to shoot his second film ‘Take Two’. Speaking to an exclusive interview with TV Times , Amit Saxena reveals that Sri Lanka is his second home.

Q: - After having edited nearly ten films, what made you to move over to film directing ?
A: -
Well, it is destined that I should be s director. I had no personal ambition, to be a director. Very frankly, I was very happy being an editor. The ultimate aim for any editor is to edit his own film independently. I was very fortunate to edit a feature film of my own. The first film, I edited was called ‘Sangash’ directed by Sanja Chandrath. While I was working with my producer Pooja Bhath on a television series, I got the chance to direct it. I had absolutely no idea of what was expected of me as I have never even as an assistant director for a signal day in my life. Therefore I think I was destined to be a director.

Q :- I hear you are in Sri Lanka to shoot your second film, “Take Two’. Why Sri Lanka as your location?
A :-
Sri Lanka is my second home. I have come to Sri Lanka in 2001 with Poojah Bhath , my producer to do a recky for my first film Jism. Initially I have planned to shoot ‘Jism’ in Sri Lanka. But due to the unsettled situation in the country, I couldn’t do it. On meeting the producer of ‘Take Two’ I explained him of my desire to do the film in Sri Lanka and he agreed. So that’s how it happened. Since I was familiar with the people, film locations it was easy to arrange things.

Q :-What are the locations you have chosen to shoot this film?
A :-
I have shot extensively in Colombo. I shot the contemporary and ancient structures in Colombo. I have found houses, whose owners do not know what a film shoot is. The people in the houses , I visited were very accommodative. I shot in actual locations in Colombo, in nightclubs, in streets, in tea estates. But I have to do some shots in London, as well. Most of them will be indoor shooting.

Q :- You said that ‘Take Two’is about Sri-Lanka. What is the story in ‘Take two’ ?
A :-
It’s a story of a girl who’s aspiring to become someone else. She’a a ramp model, and what she wanted to be was a fashion designer. And in a moment I split her life into two. It’s two stories in one and it’s screen play is confusing. I want my audience to go through that confusion.

Q :- You have also directed stage-dramas, before entering into film industry. Do you hope to direct stage-plays in the future?
When I was 17-21 , I was into stage plays. I have directed one play was total failure and no body came to see it(laughs). That day, I decided that I am not going to do theatre again

Q :- Do you see any relationship between Indian and Sri Lanka films?
A :-
Frankly , the Sinhalese films I have seen are too few. So I cannot comment. But I guess, I don’t see any similarities between Indian and Sri-Lankan films. What bothers me and what troubles me is that even the contemporary music is a remix of popular Indian songs. It’s true that if we dig deeper into the subject, we see great similarity between Sri-Lankan and Indian music. Research in this field has to be pursued. And I must tell you, that there is lot of potential in Sri-Lanka

Q :- Focusing on the Bollywood film production, what kind of trend do you see emerging ?
A :-
Well right now, it is the most exciting period for any film maker in India. Most of the Indian films are breaking away from the mainstream cinema, which focused on nothing but ‘stars’. Those days people went to see the popular stars, not the films. The filmmaker should worry about the story now and not who portrays the characters.

Q: - When a known wave or a celebrity star in a particular in would attract film that film might get large audience?
A :-
Definitely, it gets you an initial response. And in two weeks, you would have recovered all your investments. To-day the audience had become selective .And the whole viewing experience of films in India is changing, may be young people are filling the gap of the old generation.

Q :- Does the South Eastern Region still produce films based on gender stereo types ?
A :-
Well, until the society changes , nothing ever will change. As long as the society is static you will find gender stereotype issues. But fortunately, we’re in the period of transition. I have done that change in the ‘Take Two’. Niether the men nor the women’s view dominates in the film. I have handled the story in an unbiased manner.

Q: - The young generation would want to see films based on Western Values. So you think, making films for the young audience could lead to borrowing ideas from the West?
A :-
Yes. And I don’t think there will ever be a time, when Indians film industry will stop borrowing from the West. It’s basically because our background is urban dominated .We give priority to English language, more than our own, since it helps us in the job market. It’s all right to follow this trend, but we must be clear about our identity.

Q :- South Asian films, most of the time progress around the same themes. In your opinion what is the biggest challenge faced by the south East Asian film directors?
A :-
The biggest challenge present always be there for any directors would be to preserve the identity. These days cinema has become the Western propaganda vehicle.

Q :- What will be your next film ?
A :-
My next film is going be an English comedy and probably England would be the location I hope this film will give me the opportunity to connect through to an alien audience, I mean I hope I’ll be able to reach large audiences and make more money.


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