Since childhood I really loved science fiction: Filmmaker Arati Kadav

Any project which is of my liking and has a great honest and focused team is my dream project, says filmmaker Arati Kadav

Filmmaker Arati Kadav
Filmmaker Arati Kadav

Kumar Raviraj Sinha

A filmmaker with a different approach to cinema, Arati Kadav is best known for her film Cargo, an Indian Hindi-language science fiction released in 2019. She has also directed films like Time Machine, Uss Paar, and Gulmohar.

When did you decide to become a film maker?

It has been a long journey. I am a software engineer. I did my engineering from IIT Kanpur and I was working in Microsoft in the US. One day I bought myself a video camera and then I decided shoot. I started enjoying that a lot and gradually started making short films. I realised that film making was my real passion so joined a film school. Then there was no looking back. Since I grew up in a middle class family, and we focus so much on maths and science that we never pay attention to arts. I am good at science and maths but the way arts liberate me is different. Film making is where I put my 100%. So that’s why I opted for film making than engineering.

We don’t many have sci-fi films in Hindi. How were you inspired to make one?

In my childhood I really loved science fiction and it was very natural to me that I wrote such stories and my teachers too appreciated those stories. Later on when I had my camera, after making plenty of short films I made a short science fiction film on a very low budget. It gave me such a huge high! I created things with my camera that did not exist. And then I felt how madly I was in love with this genre.

Who did you get inspired to opt for film making as your career?

Earlier there were some movies and movie stars which impressed me and later on as I became a film school students, I started liking a lot of science fiction movies and directors like Terry Gilliam, Michel Gondry who made
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind had an influence on me.
Even I like surrealist film maker like Luis Bunuel. I am equally influenced by surrealism. But I try not to be surrealistic otherwise the audience will run away. But a little bit of it is what I like.

How did it occur to you to create a character like Prahastha?

Actually he was an integral part of the story. But the idea was to show how he is bogged down by system and bureaucracy. He has a very rigid existence because of the rut he is in for so many years. And he expresses it in one simple sentence—“Kabhi kabhi lagta hai jo log aa rhe hain wo zinda hain, mein mar gaya hun.” (at times I feel (dead) people who come here are alive and it’s I who has died.) I was trying to bring in lot of contrasts and contradictions in the story. Duality attracts me. That’s how Prahastha developed. He is Yamraj, like a god but then not so much.

Do You think that this kind of movies will get more reach on OTT platforms than in a cinema hall?

I am realising now that people are watching such movies. Even I had no idea people would even look at Cargo, But I had this strong idea within that even if 10 per cent people watch it, they should really like it. If you have 10 per cent of people admiring your work, it can make a difference. We can grow beyond that gradually.

Your dream project?

My dream project is any project I get to make happily. Science fiction is very tough to make. Pre production and production costs are heavy and then you have to make sure that it engages the audience. And for film makers it’s a constant engagement with the project for months altogether and you have to be constantly in control otherwise it will slip. So any project which is of my liking and has a great honest and focused team is my dream project.

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