Director Amit Kumar, while promoting his film Monsoon Shootout, says that it’s not his job to think about the release but to make the film and give it all the support that he can
It took almost four years for Amit Kumar’s directorial debut Monsoon Shootout to get a theatrical release. The film had premiered at Cannes International Film Festival in 2013 and since then made it to several film festivals. The Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vijay Verma, Neeraj Kabi and Tannishtha Chatterjee-starrer is now releasing on December 15.
So was he disappointed with the long delay? Amit replies, “I have a different approach to life and a philosophical take on it. I believe that we are witnessing this life unfold in front of us as audiences. I have to watch what’s happening and why is it happening. What is bound to happen will happen. So the four years weren’t frustrating. It will release when it’s set to release. It’s not my job to think about the release but to make a film and give it all the support that I can.”
He says that he had to keep his patience and find the right person who believed that the film will work.
But if one thinks from the business perspective, after the kind of buzz the film had created at Cannes, had a 2013 release helped the film? “I do not deny that. I would have loved if the film had released back then. Everyone has invested their energies into the film. But this is something beyond our control. The business is governed by different rules. For them, the climate has to be right and it’s not ‘Oh the film is great’,” he says. He adds that this is a good time for the film to release because content-driven films are working now.
“Having said that, if you ask my personal opinion, I believe that as far as Indian audience is concerned, they are always ready for good cinema. Someone asked me, ‘You made the film for international audience and I am like, ‘Hello, I am an Indian and this film is for Indian audience too. Aren’t we intelligent enough?”
Nawazuddin starring in the film is likely to give it the much-needed boost considering his stardom. Amit says that they hadn’t planned it that way but he does realise that Nawazuddin is a great actor. “When I was making the film, I was putting in one brick after another and I wasn’t thinking about how people will receive the film. We are lucky that one of them has turned into a big star which is definitely going to help the film,” he adds.
Monsoon Shootout is produced by Guneet Monga, Anurag Kashyap, Arun Rangachari and Vivek Rangachari. It is being presented by Moving Pictures.
The film’s trailer too has garnered a lot of eyeballs because it’s Bollywood’s first interactive trailer. Congratulate Amit on the unique trailer and he says, “The idea comes from the movie because it’s a story about a newly-appointed policeman played by Vijay and whether he should shoot or not shoot. It was the best way of telling the audience what the story is all about.”
An alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Amit has worked as associate director with Asif Kapadia on The Warrior and Florian Gallenberger on Shadows of Time. He has also worked on other projects with the filmmakers.
The director says that the story emerged when he was at FTII. “I had got a vision that I am standing in the rains with a gun and wondering if I should shoot or not. I had shared the idea with Rajeev Ravi, who was my cameraman then. Rajeev later went on to work with Anurag Kashyap and has also shot my short film Bypass and has shot this one. The idea remained with me and I was determined that I will make this my first film.”
He adds that two things inspired him to write the story further — the concept of choices that people have to make and the human conscience. “There are certain choices we have to make like should I continue working at American Express Bank and have a secure life or should I leave my job and become a filmmaker (that’s the choice I had to make in personal life). It was not a dramatic moment but I had to choose between the phases so the choice becomes important. Also, I wanted to explore the conscience of a civilised animal. Are we capable of killing? Imagine you have a job to do and you are wondering — can I take another human being’s life because it’s my job?,” he adds.
As for Monsoon Shootout, the film is releasing in more than 200 screens across India.