Sudhir Mishra: “Talk to the students, the problem has not been created by the present government”  

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

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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Subhash K Jha

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.”

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