Director Amole Gupte was in Kolkata for the promotion of his upcoming film Hawaa Hawaai. The director candidly spoke about his experiences of making the film, his inspiration Ritwick Ghatak and more with Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent Priyanka Dutta.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– You were a student at Pune Film Institute. Who inspired you to make films on topical issues?
Amole Gupte– When I was at the institute I used to go about doing every kind of jobs related with film making- from writing scripts to acting to writing lyrics and so on. It was after watching Ritwick Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara for the fortieth time that I decided to make films. The film is like black magic. It makes you speechless. Even now also when I watch the film I am speechless for half an hour. What cinematic expression!!
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– What inspired you to make this film, Hawaa Hawaai?
Amole Gupte– Look we all have some dreams which do not let us sleep. The film is essentially about those dreams. A young boy Arjun who wants to become an inline skater has to toil hard with his coach to achieve his dreams. The film was originally called Sapno Ko Ginte Ginte. But later we changed the name.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– As was the news, is Sridevi doing the cameo in the film?
Amole Gupte– No she is not doing the film. Her song with the same name is quite popular. But there is no need for the cameo in this film.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana-Why has the film been named Hawaa Hawaai?
Amole Gupte– There is a light and breezy feel to the film. Despite some hard facts in the film, the breezy feel of the film compelled me to name it in such a manner.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– You shot the film with 1500 children? When did you do the shooting?
Amole Gupte– We did the shooting during summer vacation, winter vacation, Diwali vacation and on Saturdays and Sundays. This I have done to ensure that their studies are not hampered. The shooting was more of a workshop for them. My initial idea was to continue with the workshop. If the film turns out as a result of the workshop then, good enough.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Was directing so many children a problem for you?
Amole Gupte– Firstly I do not direct children. They bond well with me. Just like my own son Partho, they are my children.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Partho received the National Award for Stanley Ka Dabba. Why did we not see him in any more films?
Amole Gupte– This is his personal decision. He was flooded with offers but he chose not to act. He was busy with studies, his school debates and so on. Now he has decided to acting again and hence he did this film.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– You have been making films for children like Stanley Ka Dabba and now Hawaa Hawaai. What do you have to say on this topic?
Amole Gupte– I dislike the fact that there is a special category as Childen’s film. I make films for the universal audience. Children in them get a special focus as they are hardly treated with due respect in our society. They must be given voting rights and then only will one get to know their ideas and opinions. Take for instance Do Beegha Zameen, Taare Zameen Par. They are universal films but also have issues related with children.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– As the chairperson of Children’s Film Society of India, what is your take on the participation of children in reality shows?
Amole Gupte– According to me they are “travesty of the rights of a child”. The European countries have fixed rules about how much time a child artist can shoot depending on the age. In India no such rules exist. The minimal working hours for a child is twelve hours which stretches to fifteen or sixteen hours. This hampers their studies. The child loses their childhood as they are exposed to the media at such a young age. They are treated by the production team with junk food and soft drinks so as to keep them hooked to the job. Later when the child goes back to school after the show is over, he/she has a hard time adjusting again to school rules. And then the parents blame the child for the bad conduct. I am not against these shows but the process of treating the child must be altered and made benevolent for them.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– You are again playing a baddie in Singham 2. What do you enjoy more-acting or directing?
Amole Gupte– I just love to act. When I was studying at the film institute I did about one hundred and ten films between 1981 and 1993. I am in love with the camera-both from the front and from the back.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Do you think that the films you make to raise awareness have been successful in their mission?
Amole Gupte– Yes to a certain extent I have been successful. After Taare Zameen Par there have been changes introduced in schools in Maharashtra. The rules made are benevolent for children. Change cannot happen in a day. You have to keep on shaking the tree and one day a fruit will fall in your lap. Till then keep on shaking the tree.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Do you want to give a message with Hawaa Hawaai?
Amole Gupte– I am not a typical Bollywood fellow. However with this film, I am trying to impress on the people in the country that children need to be respected. Rather than pressurizing them with your wishes, let them think independently. Or else the future of the country is very bleak.
The short conversation with the director was quite insightful and we hope that his new Hindi Children Film Hawaa Hawaai impresses audiences all over the world and is able to strongly convey the director’s message on child rights.