We’re living in the era of ‘Garbage’: Filmmaker Q (IANS Interview)

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New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) Director Qaushiq Mukherjee aka Q, who has been dubbed as India’s most dangerous filmmaker by CNN, feels that everyone is living in the era of ‘Garbage’ in today’s time, with human beings as the single cause of everything happening in the world.

After a successful showcase at the Berlin Film Festival, his internationally acclaimed film “Garbage” was screened for the first time in India as part of MAMI’s ‘Year-Round Programme’ in Mumbai on August 20.

Talking about why his film has been given this title, Q told IANS over e-mail: “I feel that we are living in the era of ‘Garbage’, as one of the key protagonists of the film says, ‘We are Garbage’… Human beings are the single cause of all the garbage in the world.”

“Garbage” is a socio-political drama which narrates the story of a young woman, Nanaam (played by Satarupa Das) in Goa. She is kept in chains by a taxi driver named Phanishwar (Tanmay Dhanania). When a medical student, Rami (Trimala Adhikari), a victim of revenge porn, seeks asylum in Goa, she becomes enveloped in the bizarre but placid lives of the two.

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The film, about women who are subjected to male violence, is largely unscripted. As Q describes, it is “workshop-driven”.

When asked why he is not sure if this film will be released in India, he said: “Since I became a filmmaker, I am aware of the country we live in and its value systems and hypocritical laws and I do not wish to abide by them.

“It is clearly the middle men who stop us from getting there, its not just the censor board, it’s the distribution system and the megalomaniac Bollywood hierarchy which routinely weaves out anything that opposes the status quo. I’m happy that platforms like MAMI’s Year-Round Programme are allowing filmmakers a platform to showcase all kinds of movies.

“It’s a huge boost for filmmakers especially like me who do not get screened in theatres because of multiple reasons and the general morality of our immediate society.”

The ‘Year-Round Programme’ is an initiative of the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image which organises the Mumbai Film Festival, to further create an appeal for different types of movies amongst its patrons.

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Known for films like “Gandu” and “Tasher Desh”, Q says that for a filmmaker like him, the entire system in Indian cinema culture is a roadblock.

“It is difficult to even think of how to make the next film. I started to think how it must be for someone who is just starting out. It is a hopeless scene in India, ten years back when we were hoping that a new independent cinema movement in India would take off and be something.

“Right now, we are looking at a complete approbation by Bollywood or completely being sidelined by the majoritarian sort of distribution structure. So, I don’t see any conceivable future for this. Maybe the digital medium will bring in some other kind of narrative, but in terms of pure cinema I think we have hit the wall,” he said.

The Indian society of late is facing all sorts of ill practices. You think the more repressive an environment gets in real life, the more daring the cinema should get?

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He answered: “Most obviously, you can see Iran, Bulgaria and currently Hungary as an example. However, we are not known to be people who are informed about things outside of our own interests which perhaps is going to be our great decline and the disaster that we are about to face is being insecure. This nature will get us into a lot of trouble soon.”

Having been dubbed as ‘India’s most dangerous filmmaker’ by CNN because of his politically charged, sexually explicit Bengali language films, is he happy with such tags?

“It’s just a tag. In today’s day and age, tags are quite important. If it helps the impression that one needs to create then I would then say that it really works. On the other hand, tags don’t mean anything because people who have read that I am the most dangerous filmmaker probably go ahead and watch my films,” said Q, who is currently working on six projects.

One of these is a documentary on the sari.

(Nivedita can be contacted at [email protected])



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