Saturday, May 25, 2024

I don’t revolve my stories around any particular actor – Filmmaker Prakash Jha in an exclusive interview

Interviewed by – Abhishek Veeran Partap 

Written and edited by – Robin Bhuyan (Editor-in-Chief)

If we talk about Indian cinema, Prakash Jha is one of the most well-known names that need no introduction. Not only can he be regarded as one of the most renowned film directors in the country, but Jha is also an actor, producer, as well as a screenwriter. Throughout his career, he has made a name for himself with movies such as Gangajal (2004), Rajneeti (2010), Chakravyuh (2012), Satyagrah (2013) and the web series Aashram (2020). Join Enigmatic Horizon in an exclusive interview with the filmmaker as he shares some of his insights regarding his career and cinema as a whole.

First of all, we would like to ask about Rajneeti, which is one of your most loved movies. What was your inspiration behind this movie?

Firstly, it makes me happy to see that the film was well-appreciated. Writing the story for Rajneeti took me around 5 years. Whenever I am writing a story, I ensure that the common audiences don’t feel that I am trying to teach them anything. They should rather be entertained. Along with the entertainment, if I can provide them some form of value, we can consider it as a bonus. My goal is always to tell a story.

Rajneeti is one of the biggest multi-starrer films that had several renowned actors from the industry. So how did you end up choosing the cast? Did those names occur to you while you were penning down the story?

It is hard to say. Sometimes these things come to your mind after the story is complete. It is actually quite easier to choose the actor once the script is ready. Also, I see actors as just actors portraying different characters, not stars, which makes the job easier for me.

Your next film, Aarakshan, was about caste-based discrimination and reservation. So do you think that over the years, there have been any kinds of improvements in terms of reducing caste-based discrimination?

See, I am not a researcher or analyst. I would just say that I told a story, which I wanted to tell.

You are a director who has worked for both cinema and OTT. So what are the differences that you see between these two mediums? And which do you prefer more?

My goal is to tell my story. And as long as that can be achieved, I enjoy it. However, OTT is more challenging because more character development is needed in the story. It is also a challenge to keep the audience engaged and entertained.

Are there any directors from the world of cinema whom you would consider your favorite or your role model?

There are many such directors. But it is hard to name anyone because sometimes a director who makes a brilliant film can also end up making a terrible film. So, there is no particular individual whom I can name as an inspiration.

You are also a screenwriter. Is there any technique that you use to ensure that you can keep your story relevant to your subject and also meet the commercial demands of the industry?

This process is really stressful for us and can be quite long. Finding the best way to communicate a story and a message at the same time is not easy. And the same technique can’t be used again and again. Sometimes, we even need to keep working on our script repeatedly as well.

How many drafts do you generally need before you can finalize the script?

Can’t say. Sometimes it requires only five times. Sometimes ten. Sometimes twelve. I get my scripts read by as many individuals as possible, including professional writers. Having the viewpoint of several individuals helps me understand how I should continue.

Would you tell us some of the challenges that you faced during the making of your first movie?

Challenges remain the same. The same challenges that I went through earlier – I still face them. Filmmaking is not an easy process. You need to schedule everything – explain your vision to everyone, etc.

Many actors usually have the dream of working with a certain director. As a director, do you have any particular name with whom you wish to collaborate with in the future?

There are many such actors, and it is hard to name anyone. See, the most important thing is the script and the story. And a good actor is someone who can fit into any kind of character and into any kind of story. I don’t revolve my story around one actor. So, as long as I have a good actor who can fit into my story, I am good!

Would you like to say something regarding the current political scenario of the country?

I don’t think I can provide any opinion regarding this. I consider myself as someone who observes and learns. Society keeps changing. And all we can do is learn from these changes.

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

Recently, I finished shooting a web series produced by my daughter Disha Jha. It shall be released in a few months.

Thank you for your time. We wish you the best in your future project.

Thank you!

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