Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s Hindi debut ‘Beyond the Clouds’ is about to hit the theatres today. During a press meet in the national capital, the director and lead actor Ishaan Khatter, shared their individual experiences of shooting the film.
Talking about his experience shooting in India, Majidi said, “All of my films are shot in rare locations that has been really a challenge here. I always take stories from people’s lives, the same happened here. I have travelled in India for a long time. Specifically for this film I researched in Mumbai for three months seeing every location in the city.”
“The biggest challenges were the locations, because we shot 80% of the film outdoors, on real locations. It was difficult to take the camera in those crowded places and to be able to capture the proper emotions. One of my locations was Dhobi Ghat, and we needed a lot of local people to be in the shots. Controlling and organising such a huge crowd, making sure that they are not looking at the camera was challenging,” confirmed Majidi.
The director also urged the common public in India, other than critics and film enthusiasts to watch ‘Beyond the Clouds’ in order to outgrow the standard formula of Bollywood films.
In a powerful message to the people through the media, he said, “Audience is like children, and they should be given the right education. If you feed a child a particular type of food, he/she will not be ready to try anything else, similarly if the audience is used to a certain kind of cinema they will initially not be open to receiving a different form.
“Having spoken to some of the high profile Bollywood directors I got to know that they are themselves not very happy with the kind of films they are making, but since they know that the audience is used a certain kind of film, they don’t break away from the usual format due to the fear of failure,” said Majidi, discussing the lack of more quality films in Bollywood.
He also shared an anecdote about how some of his friends suggested him a different ending of the film to fit the Indian audience’s taste.
Majidi also pointed out that very few Indian films make it to the international film fests because they have dissociated from their traditional values. “Even the contemporary Indian dance and music in the films are westernised and are much different from the local culture. If the local culture can be projected in the films, can be viewed by the entire world, only then can Indian cinema reach out to everyone,” said the director.
Majidi Talking about his upcoming films, said that if everything goes well then his next film will be in Bengali.
Newbie Ishaan Khatter, portraying the lead character Aamir in the film, talked about his research for the character, “I spent a lot of time in Dharavi, roaming around, exploring the place, talking to the locals. I was fortunate to have some cast members, playing my friends in the film, who were born and brought up in Dharavi. We became good pals. Getting to know about their ways of life and experiences there helped me in understanding my character better.”
‘Beyond the Clouds’ is an extended story of Majidi’s Iranian film ‘Children of Heaven’ (1997). The story set in Mumbai is about a pair of siblings, and celebrates love and family.