Sudhir Mishra has earned a place among the most critically-acclaimed directors in Bollywood.
The 64-year-old, who graduated from Delhi University decades ago before studying at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, is a non-mainstream film-maker who has managed to hold his ground in the Mumbai film industry after working on the scripts of highly-acclaimed films like Saeed Mirza’s Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho and Kundan Shah’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron.
He made his directorial debut with the 1987 flick Yeh Woh Manzil To Nahin which fetched him the National Award for best debut film of the year.
Two of his feature films, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi and Chameli, have been screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.
His latest film Afwaah, which released this year, has earned rave reviews from the audience. The film, shot in Rajasthan, is a story of two people whose lives changed drastically due to a rumour.
The director, who has won National Award for Main Zinda Hoon (1988) and Dharavi (1991) as well as ‘Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ from the French government, is busy shooting for the second season of the TV series, Tanaav, which will be shown on SonyLIV.
In between the shoots, Mishra spoke to Patriot on his current project and his career.
EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW:
Q: Can you tell us about your web series Tanaav?
A: Tanaav, which means stress and chaos, is the Indian adaptation of Israeli hit series Fauda. It is a fast-paced socio-political drama filled with mixed emotions, revenge, betrayal, love and flawed characters. It has been written and directed by me. The first season of Tanaav was shown in 2022 and was loved by the audience. The response has encouraged me to shoot for Tanaav 2, which I am directing at the moment. The series is being shot in the beautiful Kashmir valley. The atmosphere and its surroundings make the show interesting.
The shooting is going on continuously and it will take another two months to finish it but I hope my audience will watch and love this again.
There is a bunch of talented Bollywood stars in it like Manav Vij, Shashank Arora, Rajat Kapoor, Arbaaz Khan, Ekta Kaul, Sumit Kaul, Waluscha De Souza, Mir Sarwar and Sheen Das among others.
Q: It seems that only big budget films like Pathan, Gadar 2 and Jawaan are successful at the box-office. Do you think that the audience’s preference is skewed towards these?
A: Yes, that’s right. Everything was shut during the pandemic, but things changed after the lockdown got over. The audience took keen interest in going out and watching films in cinemas. It was a big relief for all of us connected with the film industry to see the audience going out to watch movies. But yes, no doubt about the fact that there is no alternative to big budget films.
Q: Tell us about Afwaah which was released this year…
A:Although the release of the movie was very low-profile just before the Oscars, I have received critical acclaim after my film is shown to the audience. I enjoyed working with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who I have also directed in the Netflix series, Serious Men. I loved working with him again. Till now, all of my films have got good feedback from the audience.
Q: Not long ago, people aspiring to enter the film industry had to struggle a lot.
But this is no longer the case due to the arrival of so many OTT platforms.
A: Yes, that is absolutely right. With the arrival of so many OTT platforms such as Hotstar, Amazon Prime Videos, Ullu and others, there are plenty of opportunities for the upcoming artists. They are getting a number of opportunities and it’s a great time for them.
Q: Do you think that upcoming artists are in a hurry to get into films nowadays?
A: I haven’t thought about this but all I can say is that nobody can achieve success without working hard. It’s not easy to get into Bollywood films. The industry is very competitive and unless young artists work hard and show their talent, they can’t achieve success.