Fiercely political and self ruinous in his honesty, Sudhir Mishra, at 59, is poised to remake one of his most relevant films Yeh Woh Manzil Toh Nahin which was about a students’ agitation.
“Yes, Yeh Woh Manzil Toh Nahi does seem relevant to what is happening in our country today. I made that film in 1987.And if you remember. The students were agitating in that film not against any particular government or ideology but because Pankaj Kapoor’s friend had died under mysterious circumstances. When did the students’ agitation became political? I really don’t know. All I do know is that the current students’ agitation is not triggered of by the wrongdoings of the present government. The malaise that has been eating into our society and which the students are up against,has been with us for forty years. So I believe it is wrong to give it a political colour.”
What is the solution?
Sudhir whose career is dotted by such powerful political parables as Dharavi, Hazaron Khawishein Aisi and Yeh Saali Zindagi feels the government needs to have a dialogue with students.
“Talk to them. Don’t gag their a voice. These young people will be here long after we are gone.Who knows, an age-prolonging device may be discovered and they may live to be 120. We can’t afford to silence the young. The Government should talk to them, see what troubles them,” urges Sudhir.
Sudhir says he doesn’t see anything specifically aberrant in the present government. “Back in 2005 after the UPA government had taken over, my film Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi was totally ignored at the National awards. Some of my best friends, filmmaker-colleagues were sitting in the jury. They chose to honour other films. But does anyone even remember the films that won the National award that year? Whereas my Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi is discussed for its relevance even today. My point is, you can’t gag what is relevant. The voice will find a way.”
The shift in class dynamics has always fascinated Sudhir. “I came from the privileged class. But I chose to struggle as a filmmaker. I am still struggling. Those who were seen coming from the underprivileged classes are today living in posh duplex apartments while I live in Aramnagar. All of them laugh at me, call me a loser. But I’m content where I am. I only want to remain relevant as a filmmaker.”
Returning to the remake of Yeh Woh Manzil Toh Nahin, Sudhir says, “That was 33 years ago. It would obviously have to be be a different film now. The dynamics have changed. The script has to be rewritten completely. And there will be no revolutionary answers to the political crises faced by the country. Cinema cannot give you the solutions.”