Vivek Agnihotri says he “tasted blood” when he made socio-political thriller “Buddha in a Traffic Jam“, and he is now working towards a movie on the Indian judicial system and another on the Emergency. The filmmaker notes how most names in Indian filmdom avoid political films.
“There were many problems in releasing ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’. Studios took it and left it… Actually, people don’t want to get involved in or get associated with political films nowadays in India,” Agnihotri told IANS in a candid chat at the Lonavla International Film Festival India here.
His “Buddha in a Traffic Jam” delves on a university where corruption and other national issues occur. Many drew parallels between the film’s narrative and the controversy at the capital’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
While it was praised by many for being “different”, several also found the movie “misleading”.
The movie also led to loud protests from a large section of students at the Jadavpur University. Back then, Agnihotri said the protests happened “because for the first time in 70 years somebody has dared to expose the Naxal-academia-intellectuals-media nexus”.
It is because of this “fear of eliciting political outrage, incessant debates, burning of posters and mayhem” that Agnihotri feels filmmakers are avoiding treading the political film arena.
“Also, to make a political film, you have to have a political understanding and proper research, and work hard. But why should a person work hard if you can make a ‘Dabangg’ without doing all of that'” quipped the director, who has earlier made films like “Chocolate”, “Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal” and “Hate Story”.
Why is he then making films on the judiciary and the Emergency’
“I’ve tasted blood now (with ‘Buddha…’) and I have enjoyed the fight. I have no ambition to work with Shah Rukh Khan or drive a BMW, but I want to make a film with significance.”
“Political stories are important, so that someone chronicles the politics of this country… There could be a day people say Emergency was done in crisis and it was a good thing,” Agnihotri said.
“And sometimes the Congress will come and glorify it, sometimes the BJP will come in and say something else. Why not an independent narrative coming from a filmmaker'”
Agnihotri said his film on the 21-month period of Emergency will be “hard-hitting”.
“I have faint memories of the Emergency, and I want to tell it through a child’s view. I want to show how a child who is a beneficiary of liberalisation viewed it and how today’s generation perceives it.”
Agnihotri said, “I want to bring those two realities forward. As of now, I’ve a skeletal idea of what I want to say through the film and the proper scripting is yet to be done.”