Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s epic saga of a true-life female gangster Gangubai Kathiawadi Going to the Berlin Film Festival in February 2022. In an exclusive chat with this writer, Sanjay Bhansali can barely contain his enthusiasm, “Not from the time when my devdas Cannes Gaya Have I felt this level of enthusiasm for my cinema to be recognized internationally. The Berlin Film Festival is one of the best platforms for international cinema. Our film will be screened at the highly prestigious Berlinale Special Gala section. I don’t know how many Indian films were there before this; shown in this section. But I am glad that a mainstream Indian film will make its way to this posh platform.
Carlo Chatrian, Artistic Director of the Berlin International Film Festival, said in a statement: “We are delighted to premiere Gangubai Kathiawadi And continue the Berlin Film Festival’s tradition of being a special setting for Indian films. This time with a film that combines the movement of cameras and the usual craft in shaping the choreography of bodies with a socially relevant subject, not just in India. From the very beginning we were introduced to the story of gangubaiAn extraordinary woman was dragged under extraordinary circumstances.”
Says Bhansali, “It is a huge compliment to come from a cinematographer of the level of Carlo Chatrian. I don’t know why our mainstream films are not sent to international film festivals. It is usually those esoteric arthouse films that are sent to international festivals. Gangubai Kathiawadi A celebration of mainstream cinema. It is dark yet bright. It’s the most restrained work I’ve ever done.”
Sanjay Leela Bhansali feels that the time has come for our films to ensure a wide audience across the globe. “Any Indian film that represents our country abroad, that makes an impact, makes a difference in the way our cinema is perceived internationally, when we watch it today. Fine We feel it has created a niche for Indian cinema overseas. Now we feel that our content style and filmmaking mood is being given a fair chance overseas.”
Bhansali feels that it is the maestro of Indian cinema who paved the way for filmmakers like him. “Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Shahaji Karun brought recognition to our cinema. Also, if a new film is selected for an international festival, it is not necessarily because of other films and filmmakers who have got international recognition earlier.”
So what according to Bhansali is the key to acceptance of Indian films abroad? “I feel our cinema is being appreciated for its melodiousness. People in the West are now eager to express themselves more openly. They do not deviate from the open expression of feelings. There is a lot of warmth in Indian films. At a time when the world is full of bitterness, it is reassuring to experience a cinema where the smallest of emotions matter. At the same time, Indian cinema is also in a celebratory mood. There is a song for every occasion. This is again a new experience for the western audience. Filmmakers like Steven Spielberg are now trying out the musical style that we have adopted from time immemorial. Indian films have their own distinct identity and the audience enjoys watching them. That is why they humorously call us Bollywood. You and I can hate this word. But Indian cinema has been known like this for a long time. when i showed Gunjan…. Dil De Chuke Sanam In Berlin they called it ‘Dancecycle’. He was thrilled to see the musical celebration of universal sentiments.”
more pages: Gangubai Kathiawadi Box Office Collection
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