Hindi film audience now demands something different: Vinod Kapri

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Panaji, Nov 20 (IANS) Whether it was “Trapped”, “Gali Guleiyan” or now “Pihu”, cinema that leaves the audience unsettled, is gradually finding space on the big screen. “Pihu” director Vinod Kapri says it is because Hindi movie viewers have matured and want new storylines.

The recently released “Pihu” stars a little girl in the title role. She gets trapped inside her house with no escape. The story intends to comment on the underbelly of urban isolation and domestic distress.

“I’m very sure now the Indian audience is quite ready. The Hindi film audience is getting mature day by the day, just the way producers and directors are getting mature,” Kapri told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

“Pihu” released last week to mixed reviews. While some found merit in the way a story has been spun around just a child actor, Myra Vishwakarma, some found it sadistic.

Kapri has a conviction that there’s space for such cinema in India now.

Recounting the time “Pihu” was screened as the opening film in the feature film category of the Indian Panorama at the International Indian Film Festival (IFFI) last year, Kapri said: “When this film was the opening film of IFFI, there was quite a buzz for it.

“But the organisers planned a repeat show, which they do for every opening film, at 10 a.m. I was upset and angry and told them if it’s your opening film, at least give it decent timing, after 3 p.m. or 4 p.m…. I wondered who would come at 10 a.m. in Goa.

“When I reached there, the hall was jampacked, and 50-60 people were waiting outside. I knew the international audience will like it but I was not very sure of the Indian audience.

“But when I saw the way people reacted, I realised the time has come that the Indian audience is mature… People want to watch something different. Everyone is tired of watching the same thing,” Kapri said.

From a journalist to a National Award-winning documentary filmmaker to making a debut as a feature film director with “Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho”, a social satire, Kapri’s idea of cinema includes leaving the audience with something to ponder over.

With “Pihu”, his idea was to give a wake-up call to new-age parents.

“There are small misunderstandings between couple, and a very small misunderstanding blows into a huge thing and you never know the repercussions… Sometimes it reaches a point of no return.

“‘Pihu’ is a warning for those people who get coiled up in small ego hassles and spoil their lives… Life is beautiful, and that’s a metaphor the film explains,” Kapri said, adding that the movie is a reminder of the importance of life and family..

Telling the tale in a conventional way from the parents’ point of view, as Kapri said, would have been “boring”.

“That’s when I thought I will make it from the child’s point of view.”

How did the idea of making a movie on a single character — that too a two-year-old girl dawn upon him?

“There’s a saying, ‘Necessity is the mother of all inventions’. ‘Pihu’ was my necessity. While I was making my first film, I had a couple of stories in my mind.

“I asked the producers about it, and people were not ready to invest Rs 8 crore or Rs 10 crore… That’s when I thought why such films so expensive? I realised it’s just because of cost of actors… So, I thought what if I make film without stars or even actors.”

In the pursuit of a “different storyline”, Kapri looked up the Internet for something on a little child being trapped.

“I got to know different stories nationally and internationally, and that’s how I ended up developing the film. Then one fresh incident happened in Delhi and thought I am on the right track.”

(Radhika Bhirani is in Goa on an invitation by IFFI organisers. She can be contacted at [email protected])



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