It is difficult to survive in the Indian film industry if a film does not carry strong entertainment value, says filmmaker Devashish Makhija who started his movie journey as a research associate and assistant director on "Black Friday" and then moved on to making feature films like "Oonga" and "Ajji".
"As 'Bhonsle' involved a lot of social cultural problems, nobody wanted to risk their money. And in India, people want entertainment. If a film does not give entertainment, why would even producers invest in something which does not guarantee them huge profit?
"My kind of films (content-driven feature films without entertainment) have been struggling for a long time to get equal treatment like a Bollywood commercial film and they will never get due treatment," the director told IANS here.
In the two-hour long film, actor Manoj Bajpayee plays Bhonsle, a terminally-ill local policeman, retired against his will, who finds himself forging an unlikely companionship with a 23-year-old North Indian girl and her little brother, while the raging conflict destroying the world around them reaches his doorstep, giving him one last battle worth fighting for.
Apart from focussing on Manoj's character, the film also deals with issues of migration and rape culture in India.
Why did he decide to experiment with different narratives in a single film?
"Life, especially in India, is really hard. We are surrounded with so many problems. Every state is dealing with some kind of issue. I know I mixed two stories in one film and talked about different issues, but I really wanted to convey those issues to people.
"If I made just a film on social problems, nobody would turn up. So I tried to mix those issues in a dramatic story line," he added.
After travelling to Busan International Film Festival and MAMI, "Bhonsle" was screened at the ongoing Dharamshala International Film Festival.
(Simran Sethi is in Dharamsala on an invitation by the Dharamshala International Film Festival. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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