Interview, Nishikant Kamat, Director, Mumbai Meri jaan
National award winner director Nishikant Kamat, returns to theatres this time with his highly anticipated film “Mumbai Meri Jaan”, a film around the devastating Mumbai train bomb blasts. A day before the release Bikas Mishra spoke to Nishikant:
Did you face any moral /ethical dilemmas while making the film on a tragedy of such a magnitude?
Nishikant: The film is not about the calamity, it’s about surviving it. We’re talking about survival in insanity.
It’s not about reliving the calamity but the spirit of survival.
Are the characters of the film taken from real life?
Nishikant: To be very honest, it’s a completely fictionalized depiction of reality, only the backdrop is real. But the characters are very close (to reality), they’re all around us.
Please tell us a little about research? Did you collect personal narratives of the victims?
Nishikant: Very frankly, I only followed the timeline of train blasts. It’s an emotion story, a work of fiction where reality (read Mumbai train blasts) serves as the backdrop.
I didn’t want to make people talk about their trauma of the blasts because I believe that would have been emotionally draining.
Indian filmmakers often complain of lack of funding for research and script development.
Nishikant: No, I got funding for the research and script development. Research was not such a huge task for us because everything happened all around us. We were all a part of it. It was not like I had to go to Philadelphia for research. Again, the film is not about the blasts but surviving it.
How difficult was it to recreate the catastrophe?
Nishikant: We just recreated the backdrop ..
It was technically complicated but we managed to do so. Recreating the scene of catastrophe was the easier part of it, recreating it emotionally was painful and a real challenge. It meant revisiting the catastrophe.
Is there a larger theme that you’re exploring as a director? Is there any continuity between Dombivly Fast and Mumbai Meri Jaan?
Nishikant: Not really, after Dombivly Fast I wanted to make a “light” film. I was looking for a subject and this idea appealed to me. It turned out to be somewhere closer to the idea of turmoil but no, there is no larger theme that I’m exploring.
Your next film is going to be a “light” film? A light hearted comedy maybe?
Nishikant: I’m really not very sure right now. It was emotionally intriguing to make this film (Mumbai Meri Jaan) and I need more time to think about it.
Will you be making any more Marathi films?
Nishikant: I’ll definitely make more films in Marathi. I already have a short story in mind but I need one to two years to develop it.
How do you plan to spend your Friday?
Nishikant: I might be just staying at home.