Passing By : Nandita � On the move

Passing By : Nandita � On the move

'I am a restless person, with many different interests, and I hope to continue to explore different means of communications,' shares actor, social...

"I am a restless person, with many different interests, and I hope to continue to explore different means of communications," shares actor, social activist and theatre personality, Nandita Das

Between films, Cannes, theatre, own production and playwriting, Nandita takes her role as a wife and a mother quite seriously and puts in her best. No wonder she is the ideal example of the multitasking Indian woman.

nandita dasYou were at Cannes recently on the Short film and Cinefoundation Jury? Can you recount your experience there? I was delighted to be back in Cannes to view some fabulous films and have the opportunity to discuss them with amazing co-jurors. It is a real honour to be called back just after eight years of being in the main jury. I had the pleasure of watching some amazing feature length films and interacting with directors like Alexander Payne, Christian Monjou, Anias Varda, Ang Lee and other actors and producers.

The five of us in the jury, headed by the wonderful filmmaker Jane Campion, had to judge two sections. One was Cinefoundation, where 1550 films had came from 227 film schools, of which 18 were chosen for us to award the best 3 films. As there was a provision for giving third prize to two films, we decided to make the most of it! After all the more students we can help, with the cash prize and recognition, the better it is. The standard of films and performances were really high in this section. The other section was that of short films, where out of 3500 applications, only nine were selected for us to see and we had to choose the best short film for the Palme d'or. Here too we decided to be generous and give two young filmmakers a jury mention, which again is not at all mandatory.

While the jury was smaller in terms of its size and responsibility, it was no less joy to see and deliberate about the films. A film festival is not about who wears what, but how the mind gets stimulated and opens to new ideas. It is about expanding one's understanding of films and growing with new ways of looking at life. These experiences are always such a learning process that it subconsciously helps one's own way of thinking and expressing.

What are your future plans? Have you taken up any film projects after the Tamil film 'Neer Paravai' which released in 2012? I just acted in 'Albert Pinto ko Gussa Kyon Aaata hai', directed by Soumitra Ranade. It is a contemporary take in the film that was made more than 30years ago by Saeed Mirza. I enjoyed the shoot and found the team very committed, which is a rarity, especially in Hindi cinema!

These are two projects that are yet to be fully funded, but are very interesting, that I am engaged as an actor and director, respectively. 'Traces of Sandalwood' is a Spanish Film with half the film shot in India, with an Indian cast. The shooting is in Mumbai and Barcelona. This time when I was in Barcelona, before going to Cannes, I saw many of the locations and met the team. All heads of departments are women! Maria Ripoll is the director and Anna Soler-Pont is the producer.

The other project, Corpus explores different perspectives on the Body.Seven directors from around the world will make short films that will be strung together by the French producer and his team. I met one of the directors, Naomi Kawase, who was in the main jury in Cannes this time. I have been in conversation with the producer for several months now, but it was in Cannes that I finally could meet Leslie Grunberg, the producer. There is complete freedom in the way each of the directors can explore the subject and I am itching to begin this. But they too are still working to close the financials. I hope both get fully funded soon and go on the floors later this year.

I am also looking forward to direct my next feature film. All I can say is that I am excited that I have finally found a story that I find very compelling and interesting. As film making is a long journey, it has to sustain one's interest for the whole period. But I am in no hurry to shoot. I want to give the research, the writing and all that goes into planning a good shoot, enough time. I can't say anything about the subject as of now. All I can say is that it will be an engaging story that definitely needs to be told. - Radhika Rajamani

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