Interview By: Drishti Pandey

Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra is known for his hard – hitting realistic and elegant political films. His body of work is commendable and critically acclaimed, the three – time National Award winner spoke to us about his recent film ‘Daas Dev’ which is a modern twist to ‘Devdas’.  Also, shared his thoughts over freedom of filmmakers and how important it is to discuss politics as it affects the life of people. Read on…

How did the thought of making a reverse tale of ‘Devdas’ happen? 

It happened since the time I heard the story of Devdas and one of my friend Pritesh Nandi had told me years ago to make a film on Devdas, and I thought over it that so many people have already made it so why do I make it again. Later, I thought again that the character of Devdas and one of Shakespeare’s characters Hamlet both have the similarities; so I thought why can’t Devdas come from a strong political family and is the only heir of the family.  For instance in many countries there are many children of these politicians who come into politics when their family is in trouble. Some of them come into it with the purpose of saving it because the lust of the power is to an extreme that the family doesn’t want to leave it; so they get their children into politics; so similarly the same game is played on this character (Dev) and he is brought into politics.  And Paro comes in the picture because her father is Dev’s father political secretary; so the problem is creates between them because of politics.  So, Paro also falls into the lust of power and it causes a fight between Dev and Paro and they get separated.  So, the politics comes in between their love and then how Chandni, who is a political fixer manipulates everything and how she tries to remove him out of all this. So, it’s a reverse journey and all these three are in the lust of power.  The addiction of power is the most dangerous thing ever and equally causes severe damage to people but they accept it and don’t confess the addition of power.  So, how these three are entangled in this addition of power and how they try to be free from it is the story.   The man who is an addict becomes a slave of its habits. So, it’s a journey of how a person changes from a slave to Dev to get freedom from its addiction; hence Daas Dev.

Does this film give us the insight of politics?  

Yes in today’s date politics is the same as everyone is in their own addiction of power, and everything they are doing is because of the lust of the power.  You don’t come to know the real face of the person, sometimes; they are with you and after a while they will oppose you. So, all this is because of power’s addiction. It’s all happening in front of our eyes, how they manipulate people, how they are sending someone to the jail. Something or the other wrong is happening because of all power addiction.

Your cast seems to be a bunch of fine actors, in terms of star cast what were you looking for? That you found in them?

As a writer while I am writing a script I have a thought and faces appear in front of you for example while I was writing the character Paro – I imagined a modern girl of today’s generation, independent, spunky girl so Richa came into my mind; similarly if you think of Chandni  she’s a manipulator, fixer , who is a kind of person who a politicians doesn’t acknowledge knowing , a fixer who fixes deal between politics and business, she should also have a quality of seductress but also the softness the girl in love  so for that I thought of Aditi.  Both these girls are fantastic actress. I saw Rahul in ‘Ugly’ I wanted this boy who looked spoiled, arrogant, but a great actor who is willing to go on this journey. So I took Rahul. Saurabh Shukla I’ve always worked and he represents the addiction to power and Vipin Sharma because I wanted a complicated part to be played by him and it’s his life’s best performance. Vineet Singh who has done ‘Mukkabaaz’ has a cameo in the film with a brilliant performance, Anurag Kashyap, is in the beginning of the film and the end of the film; he has been talked about throughout the film so I wanted someone with that charisma who understands it, Dalip Tahil, Deepraj Rana, Sohaila kapur who happens to be Shekar Kapur’s sister but is a very fine actress from Delhi theatre so I had casted her.  Anil George who was in miss lovely so we found all these good actors.

 At the current times, there’s a question mark on the creative freedom of filmmakers in India, especially when it comes to sensitive topics. What you have to say about that?  

Well I think it’s unfortunate. It’s not a question about cinema, people should be allowed to discuss; the society should have the maturity, who says you have to like my film? Nobody has to like my film; you just can’t stop my film!  So, if you don’t like it, write about it, make another film against it, or give an interview against it. Tell people not to see it, but don’t ban, don’t stop the film.  We have always stood by whether it was Udta Punjab, or ‘Lipstick under my Burkha’, or ‘Padmaavat, or any small, big film, we have always stood up when a film is threatened.

 How important do you think political issues or films should be talked about as we have films being made on social issue? 

It’s important as it affects the life of people, so it’s necessary that things to be discussed and if a journalist is allowed to talk, politicians are allowed to talk about politics, and then why not film makers. Why films are always made victims? It’s strange! The same thing if had been said in a book is alright, you make a film it becomes a problem!

Which process you enjoy the most? Writing – directing? 

I think it’s the same for both, I am a writer- director and I write a film in all stages.

 What’s’ next?

I love web series so I’ll be doing a lot of that so it’s exciting times.

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