Being a criminal is matter of perspective: Sudhir Mishra

New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) Being or calling someone a criminal is a matter of perspective, said acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter Sudhir Mishra.

“Who is a criminal is a matter of perspective”, he said at the second edition of the Crime Writers Festival which started on Saturday.

“Story telling is to make people ask questions, to take away the veneer,” he said adding that crime fiction did that better than literary fiction.

Mishra’s upcoming movie is an adaptation of Devdas turned upon its head, Dasdev and it’s Sarat Chandra meets Shakespeare mediated by Sudhir Mishra, he said, also adding that the young new directors bringing in a breath of fresh air to Hindi cinema.

He also suggested that North Indians watch Marathi cinema for a sense of what contemporary Indian cinema had to offer.

Mentioning that he had just watched Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight”, he said: “Bad work of a good director is more interesting than the good work of a bad director.”

In another session, award winning French author Veronique Ovalde spoke of the difficulties of being a female crime writer, noting that it was only because she was so determined that she was ever published. In conversation with festival director Lady Kishwar Desai, she said that literature saved her life. At heart a reader, she said, “I need to be surprised by my text.”

Piergiorgio Pulixi from Italy and Clara Penalver from Spain brought a fresh, international perspective to the festival, reading from their respective books. While Clara preferred a more mellow pace with an inward focus, Piergiorgio’s excerpt featured three bodies, an arrest and a dirty cop all in one chapter.

Earlier in the opening session, festival director Namita Gokhale said that that the proliferation of crime fiction in India suggested the maturing of society, with it moving away from the vendetta fantasies of Hindi cinema to more nuanced explorations of truth.

In the session titled “The Gangsters of Dalal Street”, R.V. Raman and Ravi Subramanian, two bankers turned writers, spoke of the vastness of financial fraud in India.

While Subramanian maintained that he was not out to change the world and merely wanted to tell people stories from the world of banking, Raman admitted that there was a sense of moral outrage when he wrote about the scams. “It isn’t about people who are doing wrong; it’s about the innocents that get punished,” he said.

In “Dial M for Mafia”, Vivek Agrawal told Aditi Maheshwari about his thrilling career as a crime reporter covering the Mumbai underworld and how willpower and honesty were his greatest protection against the wrath of the dons.

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