Pradeep Sarkar on Helicopter Eela: To create what comes to your mind gives you a different high altogether
The race to release a film can do a lot of things to the people involved. It's Sunday afternoon and the atmosphere at director Pradeep Sarkar’s office is akin to a Monday morning. There is plenty of activity at the work stations and a constant influx of people as they greet me at the director’s Apocalypso Filmworks office. When I meet the director, he looks fresh after having gone through a bout of dengue and more than his health, he is eager to talk about his film. His latest film Helicopter Eela, which was scheduled to hit theatres in September, was postponed to 12 October. Does a change in the release date apply brakes on the momentum of the people involved? “Till the time you are not completely satisfied with the film, there is no point releasing it. It’s important to satisfy yourself first. Something similar had happened with Mardaani too. We were just not interested in the release date till the time everything was in place but there was also a group of people who kept saying that the film is delayed. There is nothing called ‘delay’ for a film. Every film has its own life, it's released in theatres and then people go and see it. If it becomes a part of their memory, it would be a lot for me,” reasons the Parineeta director.
Pradeep recalls that he had instantly fallen in love with the plot of the film when Mitesh Shah and Anand Gandhi had given him the narration. “The story talked about a relationship that everyone goes through and I wanted to explore that facet. With Kajol by my side, it gave me a tremendous high. While I was going through the script, I thought of Riddhi with whom I had worked earlier in an ad. I had noticed the sparks in him during the shooting of the ad and it was enough for me to say that the guy is intelligent.” The director is of the opinion that actors are superhumans because of their ability to emote plethora of emotions in front of the camera. “So many thoughts keep popping in and out of the head of an actor and then, they make you believe that something real is happening with their emotions. It’s just not possible for a normal human being to do such a thing.” The director further adds that he habitually falls in love with all his characters and starts missing them the moment his films are over, which often makes him cry.
Ask him which are the characters from his films with whom he is still attached, and without blinking an eye mentions that it’s the camera. “For me, camera is a character as it's telling the story which I want to say. I fall in love with my visuals and whenever things go slightly off tangent, it screws up my mind. It’s such a lovely thing to create what comes to your mind. It gives a different high altogether and I really believe that shifting the camera for even a bit changes the narrative.” When you ask him if he's a sticklet for perfection, he corrects you by saying that "madness" would be the more appropriate term.
In an industry where filmmakers are infamous for playing safe even with the name of their films, the name of Sarkar’s latest film is a pleasant surprise. Has he taken a risk by naming his film Helicopter Eela? “Youngsters know the word. I asked my son twice if he knows the meaning of the film’s title and both the time he answered in the affirmative. I am actually using a word which is completely okay with youngsters. There is another term called ‘Penguin Fathers’ which means loving and protective fathers. It’s just that the oldies fail to understand these things and I am one of those.” The director further mentions that though he might look old from his outward appearance but deep within, he has a young heart which is only because he often tries to strike a rapport with youngsters and takes a keen interest in comprehending their world.
One often talks about Yash Raj Films and Dharma Productions for showering the film industry with promising talents but not many know that in an individual capacity, Pradeep Sarkar too has blessed the industry with many talents. Shoojit Sircar, Dibakar Banerjee, Jaideep Sahni and Amit Sharma — all had learnt the ropes of filmmaking under the tutelage of the director. Does he pat his back sometime? “About this, I will only say that they were not with me but I was with them. Whenever I see their work, I only say that why didn’t I make a film like them. These people have a different sort of hunger inside them. I keep bumping into Dibakar and Jaideep at YRF while Shoojit keeps calling me often.”
These days any interview with a film personality can’t be complete without being asked questions on the #MeToo movement and Sarkar is no exception. He denies having come across any such incidents. “It’s what I hear and there is nothing more than that. I remember shooting for Mardaani when I required a brothel for a sequence. I searched a lot for a brothel but could not get any. So it is somewhat similar to that.” He believes that few people in the industry have been bestowed with a lot of power. “So much power is given to some people in the industry that they are almost treated like God and I think all issues stem from there,” he says. When asked if he takes any precautionary measures to avert such incidents on his sets, he mentions that it’s got to do more with an individual’s conscience. “I am an open person and am most approachable. I have no qualms about meeting anyone at any point of time. I pick up all my phone calls and there is nothing khufiya about me so at my film sets, everything is open. It’s all about having a good sleep at night not worrying about the repercussions of your action. I think this is the best situation. I know there is no point being blind like an ostrich, but comment wise there is nothing I can make,” says the filmmaker.
Updated Date: Oct 13, 2018 15:32 PM