He has never lived by the norm but has aimed to be a trendsetter. With films like Yahaan, Vicky Donor and the upcoming political espionage thriller Madras Cafe to his name, Shoojit Sircar speaks up on why he chose the Sri Lankan war as his plot’s backdrop.
You have done films like Yahaan and Vicky Donor which have had subtle romances, comedy yet belted out a positive message for the audience. Why choose a film like Madras Cafe this time?
The theme for Madras Cafe was there with me much before Vicky Donor. It was with me since the 2006-2007 so the story goes long back. Madras Café is a film whose plot is a very sensitive subject, it is a very difficult subject for me because while I was making the film, in terms of script, it kept changing because I had to keep in mind that just because I am embarking upon a project like this, I cannot hurt anybody’s sentiments at all. That’s why it took so long but I have always loved experimenting with different genres. I filmed my first film in Kashmir, had my second film Shoebite which was a love story drama, then I did Vicky Donor and this is a political thriller. Any story that touches me will definitely find a way to the script.
John Abraham leads the pack in the film whereas Nargis plays the heroine. Why did you opt for Nargis that too for a serious film like Madras Cafe, knowing that she faced a lot of criticism for her dead pan expressions in Rockstar?
I don’t consider failure as any benchmark for a person being deprived of another role or an opportunity to prove himself or herself in any other films. That is a very wrong notion because everyone does not perform equally in all films. They are good in some and bad in the others but discarding the person for one film is uncalled for. But yes to your question, I can bet that after seeing the film, no one will consider Nargis as a non-actress. She will not disappoint you at all. I needed a foreign war correspondent and it was a very important role considering what a war correspondent usually has to go through. She fits into the role very nicely that’s why I opted to cast her.
Your association with John goes back to 2006 when you approached John for Madras Cafe. Today he signed the film and also decided to produce it. How was it working with him?
I appreciate him more as an actor than a producer. He has got a lot of potential. I approached him for Madras Cafe when he didn’t start his production house. After Vicky donor, he felt it was the right time he agreed to do the film and even produce it. It feels really good when to have someone helping me in making films that I believe in. He trusts me blindly and we maintain a really healthy relationship.
What are you expecting out of the film?
Honestly, I have no expectations. I just want people to watch the film. I hope they won’t be disappointed because we have tried to make a film that would be hard-hitting yet won’t hurt anyone’s sentiments. And audiences today are really sensible so I have a feeling they would like Madras Cafe as much as they loved my other films.
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