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Five years ago, you released Leaving Home on Indian Ocean and now you are back with a new documentary, Baavra Mann – A film on Sudhir Mishra and Other Indian Realities. How did you stumble upon this subject?
In 2010, I decided to not work on any film assignments for three years. But there was an itch and when I met Sudhir Mishra at a conference that year, I got the same feeling that I had for Indian Ocean. I have known him for over a decade and used to discuss my scripts with him. Sudhir is a unique personality in this industry, he has survived for 25 years and there are still high expectations from him which is remarkable.
What was his reaction when you told him about the project?
When I told him about wanting to make a movie on him, he was unusually quiet and said, 'use me as a medium, not as a subject'. Baavra Mann is about looking at Indian cinema — commercial and parallel — through his story and also his relationship with his family.
Which places did you visit to understand Mishra and his cinema?
We went to Sagar University in Madhya Pradesh which was a very vibrant educational institution at the time but now it's a complete mess. After this, Sudhir became a part of the Delhi theatre scene and had friends from the National School of Drama (NSD). It's sort of on a decline now. After this, he went to Bombay to be part of the parallel cinema circuit which has now faded.
Who else is part of this two-hour-long film?
Apart from Chitrangada Singh, Kay Kay Menon and Shiney Ahuja who have recently worked with him, we've spoken to Naseeruddin Shah, Kundan Shah and Ketan Mehta. MJ Akbar, Vinod Dua and Robin Das (NSD) are also in the film.
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