Karan Razdan Says Indians Don't Talk About Sex In Open! Really?

In a telephonic interview, KARAN RAZDAN tells JYOTHI VENKATESH that filmmaking is a creative process than directing TV serials, because in films no one is holding a gun against your head unlike TV which is a tough medium which is made even tougher by the choice of the subjects that the channels impose on the producer.

Now that your film Mittal V/s Mittal has seen the light of the day, how do you feel?

As a writer, I feel more relieved than as a director of Mittal V/s Mital because I had worked for a longer time on the subject as a writer though I had directed it for only a year.

There comes a time when you have to let go of your creation to the universe and let it fight its own battle. It is your own creation but now it has its own life and you no longer control it. Getting a film of yours released is almost like delivering your own baby.

Do you set out to drive any subtle message through your film?

To tell you the truth, I did not at all set out to reach through my film. More than trying to drive home a message, I just picked up a mirror and showed a part of society to the society.

This sordid part always used to remain covered, ignored and not at all talked about, because Indians do not talk of sex in the open. Marital rape is even bigger a taboo in India.

I took off the blanket from the truth and set out to show the society its gory reality. Beyond that, what the custodians of society want to do is entirely up to them.

What triggered off the idea to launch Mittal V/s Mittal which is about marital rape?

It is my business to investigate and research because I am a writer but today even an ordinary layman can go to any search engine and type marital rape in India and succeed in getting a lot of inputs about it.

I was disturbed by the bitter truth that till 2005, there was absolutely no law in India to control domestic violence. I started writing the subject in September 2004 but the Domestic Act 2005 came into practice only from 2006.

What is intriguing to note is the fact that strangely marital rape has been recognized and made punishable for three years only from International Women's Day this year.

How tough was it for you to cast the actors for the film?

I have always felt as a director that half your battle is won if you cast the right actors in the right roles. I knew that none of the glamorous heroines in Bollywood would be able to give authenticity to the role that Rituparna Sengupta has played in my film.

I needed an actress of substance. Since she is an actress who has won two national awards for acting, Rituparna has been able to lend certain integrity to the role. As far as casting Rohit Roy was concerned, I would say that I proved right because his was the most difficult role among all the four actors in my film.

I have always felt bad that a good looking actor like Rohit is yet to get his right due in spite of the fact that he is very talented.

What difference do you find between directing TV serials as well as feature films?

Filmmaking is a much more creative process than directing TV serials, because in films no one is holding a gun against your head and gives you your own pace to do your work, unlike TV which is a tough medium which is made even tougher by the choice of the subjects that the channels impose on the producer. All said and done, I'd only say that I do not have the patience to deal with TV.

How do you evaluate your growth in films as an actor, writer and director?

I feel that I have grown not only as an actor but also as a writer and director in my journey of the last twenty five years in the film industry.

Though I have to my credit as a writer films like Lakshman Rekha, Dilwale, Diljale, Qayamat, Time Machine and Deewane and films like Girl Friend, Umar, Eight Shani, Souten etc as a director, I feel that I have kind of turned stable only now.

I am slowly trying to find a firm footing by addressing various realities of life, as a writer as well as a director through my films.

Why do you think your films take a long time to see the light of the day?

It is my job to complete a film as a director and its release is not at all in my hands. My films like Roshni and Mr Bhatti Chutti Mein are yet to be released though they are ready.

While Roshni has new comers, Mr Bhatti Chutti Mein has Anupam Kher in the title role with a special appearance by none other than Amitabh Bachchan. It is a comedy film about how Mr Bhatti goes abroad on a chutti and his chutti goes haywire due to a sequence of events.

Where has the actor in you disappeared?

It is such a long time since I had faced the camera as an actor. It does not mean that I have run out of my passion as an actor.

I am in fact doing a ten minute role in Aagaah which I am not only producing under my banner Aartee Films but also directing. Aagaah, by the way, stars Atul Kulkarni and Rituparna Sengupta in the lead with Anupam Kher and Satish Kaushik in key roles. It is a super natural thriller with the backdrop of terrorism.