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I’m the king first, not audience: Shoojit Sircar

Shoojit Sircar on Friday said he does not make his films wondering whether the audience will approve of it as the director believes he is the “king first”.

The filmmaker recounted the public’s mixed reaction to his latest directorial October, saying a lot of people thought that the Varun Dhawan-Banita Sandhu starrer was slow.

“A lot of people saw October’ and told me that the film was really slow. And I was like Fine what can I say?’ It’s a territory where you can’t be blindly sure of what you are doing. Even when you are pitching to an actor, you are trying to tell him what your vision is. I’m not a magician, this is a process for me too.

I’m not trying to get a good audience. People tell me but audience is the king’, no but I am the king first. It is not in my control whether the audience will like my film or not. I will tell a story the way I feel it, I’m enjoying it or how my mind is processing it, Sircar said during a conversation with film critic Saibal Chatterjee at the session Out-of-the-box in Black Box’ at the fourth day of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here.

The director, whose films Vicky Donor and Piku were major hits, said audience is the king only when a box office works.

“It is like when someone is ill, they call on God. When they recover, they forget the God. When they fall ill again, they remember God. So it is like that. I can’t make a film for an audience. If I start thinking of an audience, I don’t think I’ll be able to make a film. An audience is the last thing that is on my mind (while working on a film), he said.

Sircar said he has been lucky that all of his films faired at the ticket window the way he predicted.

My films have always worked at the box office. I tell my producers in advance that don’t think it’ll be a mass film, that a lot of people will come But I try to learn from my past mistakes and try not to repeat them. When I look back, I see there have been many, many mistakes.

Recounting how he started Vicky Donor with frequent collaborator writer Juhi Chaturvedi, he said Chaturvedi gives the idea and they hold discussions.

“One night she called me up and said she had a story about a sperm donor in her mind. I thought ‘there is something wrong with this girl’. I should not say this but if some boy would have given this idea, I would have rejected it then and there itself.

The whole night I couldn’t sleep. Then I went on the web and I read stories (on sperm donation) and I started laughing. The next morning, I called her up: let’s start the work, we’ll see how it goes.

As and when the discussions are over, Chaturvedi goes into her own cocoon and pens the first draft, which serves as the backbone of the story, Sircar said.

The filmmaker, who has made a political thriller like Madras Cafe and backed social drama Pink, said his films are a reflection of the society around him along with the kind of cinema he watched while growing up.

Sircar, who is considered to be following the path of the middle of the road’ films, said he believes his work is really mediocre when he compares his films with his greatest influence, the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray.

Later, the director told PTI that he is working on three different projects at the time, where he will be reuniting with Chaturvedi, Pink screenwriter Ritesh Shah and Madras Caf co-writer Shubendu Bhattacharya, respectively.

He is also in advanced talks to produce a Bengali film.

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