Director Ashvin Kumar tells SHALINI SAKSENA about his film I Am Not Here and why, despite the challenges, indie films have many takers in India
What is your film about?
The 25-minute documentary film I am Not Here, produced by the UN Human Rights Office, brings to life the harsh reality of undocumented migrant domestic workers through the stories of three women — Flores in Zurich, Jennifer Norgriff-Bernard in New York who left Trinidad to escape poverty and a forced marriage, and a young woman unable to reveal her identity in Kuala Lumpur who was sexually assaulted and beaten by her employers.
What is the most startling aspect of the film?
Over all, the entire film has some startling and horrifying things. But there is one particular shot that is more startling than others — it is horrific. When something like that happens in a militancy prone region like Kashmir to a 13-14-year old who is assaulted by the very people who have employed her. What is so unfortunate and sad.
How did an actor turn into a director?
During the 90s there was not much happening and I didn’t have the luxury of waiting to be an actor and then take to direction.
Do you think that indie film have come into prominence or is it still for the niche in India?
The niche is India is very large. We have a billion-plus population and that is itself means that there are many people who would love to watch these kind of films. You have film like The Lunchbox and Court that have had a fantastic response and they are great movies. Also, there was much more ways in which one can release these kind of films.
What are the challenges facing filmmakers like yourself?
If I wanted to make a historical film without a big star worth Rs 20 crore, it won’t be possible here in India. You would be asked to cut short the budget. But the same is not true outside of India. Hence, my next film is based out of the UK.
Source: Daily Pioneer