Films that are screened at multiple festivals are a celebration of artistic excellence, says actor-producer Sanjay Suri, whose new project “Chauranga” has been lauded at film galas in the country as well as abroad.
The movie, directed by debutant Bikas Ranjan Mishra, won the Golden Gateway of India Award for Best Film (India Gold 2014) at the 16th Mumbai Film Festival, and was also lauded at the 13th Indian Film Festival Of Los Angeles.
Sanjay, who has himself starred in offbeat movies in the past, says there has to be a shift in mentality towards festival films.
“Few people feel that ‘It’s a festival film, so let’s not watch it’. But, a festival film is a celebration of artistic excellence. Festival films are an eye into another world of cinema… these films take you to a different world. The mature audience wants to see such films,” the actor, who has produced “Chauranga” with Onir, said.
He says that while these films “entertain in a different way”, it is not proven that “if a film goes to festival, it will work or it will not work”.
“But if you get appreciation, the film gets a good start and its journey begins,” added the 44-year-old.
“Chauranga”, which stars Sanjay, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Anshuman Jha in key roles, speaks about the violence of class oppression that continues to exist in rural India.
The actor says he himself has been a huge victim of discrimination.
Asked if he has ever faced any discrimination in his life, Sanjay said: “I am a huge victim of discrimination. I am from Kashmir and my father was killed there because we are Hindu. So, I have faced that discrimination, but still I am very secular. In the film ‘Firaaq’, I played a Muslim character.”
“Cinema is a powerful medium and I personally feel films like ‘Chauranga’ have an audience for sure.”
Talking of the relevance of “Chauranga” in today’s time, Sanjay said: “I could relate to this film ‘Chauranga’. Discrimination is here in urban India as well… If we want to buy a house, we are asked to fill a form in the society and asked about your caste. So the discrimination is there all over.”
Why does he often choose offbeat films like “My Brother… Nikhil”, “Firaaq” and “I Am”?
“I don’t choose films as commercial or offbeat. I do films that I like. Whatever scripts I like, I do them. It’s not a conscious decision on a specific kind of film. When I read a script, it’s very important for me to know how much I engage myself with the story.”