Cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan’s latest film “Tahaan” releases this Friday. Bikas Mishra spoke to the director about his “fable-like” story of a young boy with a hand grenade and his lost donkey, set in the backdrop of Kashmir.
How did you get the idea of making “Tahaan”?
From a newspaper clipping, it seemed very interesting, to weave a story around.
The storyline of the film has a charm of a folklore, while the backdrop is something as serious as cross border conflicts?
It’s more like a fable, and since its in a place of conflict modern elements creep in.
Is Tahaan a political film?
Whetherš one likes it or not, the place where it is filmed is important to the individual, so it also deals with events that affect the lives of people.
How was the experience of shooting the film in Kashmir?
It was quite interesting. We also had people in the village help us with the film and a few of them acted in it too. Naturally they are very curious about filming and we let them be a part of the shoot. So there were a lot of smiles despite the security which in turn was not strict but very friendly and efficient.
You’ve worked with quite a few seasoned actors in Tahaan?
It’s always been a pleasure to work with Anupam, especially on this shoot, since he is from Kashmir. He had a field day conversing in Kashmiri and chatting up with the locals and bringing smiles all around. Rahul Bose did a very interesting and serious role in Before the Rains, my previous film, in this one he has an unconventional role of a village idiot, which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy leaving behind his sophistications.
How was the experience of working with a “child actor”?
Most child actors are spontaneous. They are very good actors, it’s only their mood swings, and attention span is really of concern, of course when you have a child actor it is better to go his way and he calls the shots.
Your earlier film “Before the rains” has been doing festival rounds, will it be released in India?
Of course despite it being in English , which is why it has been theatrically released and presented very well by Merchant Ivory and Village Roadshow in in the US, UK, Australia adn South Africa. It will also release in India. Multiplexes ensure that it will find a niche audience in India.
Watch Tahaan Trailer