Gyan Correa, whose film The Good Road has been selected to represent India at the Oscars, tackles the controversies that have erupted over the film saying “running my film down is not going to help any other film”.
Many felt that The Lunchbox should have been selected for the Oscar race.
“People who hadn’t heard of the film let alone seen it are criticizing it. That I think is unfair,” Correa said about his first feature film.
The admaker-turned-filmmaker added: “The Lunchbox and The Good Road are siblings.”
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. There seems to be a very intense line of thought in Bollywood that Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox should have gone to the Oscars?
A. Some people seem quite upset by the decision. I am hoping they would stop being upset in a while. They are seasoned people and have been around long enough.
Q. There are reviews of your film, apparently published at the time of release, which describe the film as “horrible” that failed critically and commercially on release?
A: I am curious as to where these reviews are coming from.
Q. Had you seen these reviews when the film was released?
A. No, not at all! I’d love to read these reviews. As for the criticism some people said the language was bad. But that’s it. No critics as far as I know thought my film horrible.
Q. You mean abusive language? That doesn’t make it a bad film.
A. I agree. May I tell you something straight from my heart? I am new to all this and I really don’t know how to deal with the whole unsavoury controversy. Very genuinely I feel the film I made has merit. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been selected for the Oscars. People who hadn’t heard of the film let alone seen it, are criticising it. That I think is unfair.
Q. The jury’s wisdom is also being questioned?
A. I think it’s inappropriate for people who had a film in the competition to be publicly discussing and questioning the process of selection. I wouldn’t do that. I was very surprised by the comments on the jury…that they don’t know cinema and all that. Most uncalled for.
Q. Have you see The Lunchbox?
A. No. But I am going to see it as soon as possible. The Lunchbox and The Good Road are siblings. They’ve both come out of the NFDC (National Film Development Corporation of India) route in different ways. So both films have originated from the same foundation where good cinema is fostered. That’s the way I see it. The real story is that the NFDC, which once used to nurture meaningful cinema, is back in business. This other story (about Oscar-worthiness) is totally out of league.
Q. But that’s the story that seems to be gathering momentum?
A. Running my film down is not going to help any other film. I didn’t select the film (for the Oscars). A committee that knows its job did the selection. I had no say in it. I respect the jury and I feel every other filmmaker should. Now that The Good Road has been selected, the film fraternity should support it.
Q. Moving ahead, tell me about yourself?
A. I am a Mumbai-based filmmaker. I was an admaker. The Good Road is my first feature film. The NFDC was the only organisation willing to produce my film.
Q. Lobbying for an Oscar in Los Angeles is a very expensive and time consuming process. Are you prepared for the struggle ahead?
A. I’ve to meet my producers (the NFDC) and discuss our strategy. We do have a plan. Raising resources for our struggle in LA is not an easy job.