While experimental thought is reigning the vein of thinking in Bollywood and contemporary cinema mostly, director Vivek Agnihotri prefers being rather commonplace in his style of film making. Calling his upcoming venture a ‘hardcore mainstream film’, he had a interesting conversation with Koimoi about Freedom.
In the wake of National Liberalization, his stance extremely socialistic, he affirms, “It rather broke up the country’s moral fiber. The ambition of the youth had gone awry and talent was substituted with mediocrity.” His zest for creating a socio-political narrative, Freedom he acclaims ‘is the culmination of his failures and experiences.’ With a script he describes as a social commentary on the pathetic state of affairs of our country, the film’s story traces an important period of Indian politics from the mid 80s till the advent of this millennium.
The director emphasizes that he wanted this film to be his debut film but he did not have the courage to embrace it then. A decade later in Bollywood, after acquiring ample experiences, he is finally wrapping up the work on his most challenging film making experience.
“This is the most challenging film I have ever made. There was a lot of lot research that had to go into making the film. While at it, the experience gained was vast and varied. Meeting new people from every walk of life, was the most nourishing experience that built the base for the film.”
Rubbishing the rumors that his female lead was fashioned on the life of late actress Parveen Babi, he clears the air saying that the life of the rich and famous in Bollywood is rather stereotypical. The highs and the lows that travels through depression and emotional setbacks, which exactly is story of this character. “My characters are very well rooted in politics, society and mostly reality,” Agnihotri enunciated.
Talking of the south actress Payal Ghosh, Agnihotri was delighted with her work. He firmly makes a statement that most people are in Bollywood because of their beauty mainly and less because of their talent. Somewhere the talent factor is suffering a setback, which is a concern close to the director’s heart it seemed.
Talking of the film’s main lead Salman Yosuff Khan, Agnihotri was extremely impressed with his work. Though the film was initially bagged by Chandan Roy Sanyal who is a dear friend of the director, Agnihotri informed that he was compelled to walk out the film citing date issues. Were there any hard feelings? Vivek had a gala laugh and said, “Not at all. We still drink wine together on weekends.” Not everything is a catfight in Bollywood after all.
Freedom, the words of its makers, is strongly drawn from hard hitting realities of India. What was his inspiration? “My own life”, claimed Vivek. Coming from an illustrious background, studying at India’s premier Journalism Institute, Indian Institute of Mass Communication in Delhi and then began his esteemed career in advertising, working for top notch advertising honchos like Ogilvy and Mather, JWT and Mc Cann Erickson before beginning his own ad company Art Beat. Placed at the center of power in Delhi for a long time, Vivek has meticulously learnt the political detailing which has come handy for him while working on this film.
A great deal of research, meeting new people and concretizing the vast script more impeccably, he has attempted to knot it all up confidently. His real aim is to celebrate the nascent talent of India which is butchered at the hands of those in power. In his little efforts, Vivek has roped in fresh faces and fresh talents to build the most challenging venture of his career, his dream project, he has put a great deal of faith on them.
Freedom, now in its post production, is gearing up for release soon. Though a socio-political drama, in the words of Agnihotri encapsulates two decades of Indian politics and cannot really be placed in any genre. But it definitely Bollywood has never seen anything like this before.