“The censor board should rate films not cut out scenes”: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, a well-known director in the Bengali film industry and the director of the Bollywood hit “Pink” interacted with an enthusiastic audience at School of Communication on February 9, the second day of the college’s core communication event, Article 19.
Chowdhury, often referred to as Tony Da by his close friends and colleagues discussed the art of filmmaking with reference to his own career. From addressing issues faced by regional filmmakers to the problems caused by censorship in cinema, he emphasised the importance of making a good film regardless of language, audience or money. With years of experience and multiple national awards under his wing, Chowdhury had plenty of stories to share and advice to give.
Here are a few excerpts from his conversation with The Manipal Journal:
Your films Antaheen and Pink are both National Award winning films, yet Pink is the more popular and talked about one. What do you think has caused this disparity?
The Hindi language! There are many wonderful regional films but not everyone can watch them, the reach of the Hindi language is much wider. That aspect is what inspired me to start making Hindi films and impacting more people. Furthermore, the involvement of Amitabh Bachchan and Shoojit Sircar brought a lot of attention to the film. They are such talented people and working with them really inspires greatness.
Sometimes, the Indian censor board ask filmmakers to cut out scenes or words. This may remove some of the overall impact of the film. Do you see this as a restriction or can it be an opportunity to be more creative and find other ways to convey the message?
The censor board exists to rate films according to the audience. They can label the content as suitable only for adults or for universal viewing. However, I do not agree with them when they ask filmmakers to cut out scenes, that is not what they are supposed to do. When a film has various cuts made into it, it can lose the meaning the filmmakers were trying to convey. They should not be allowed to enforce such edits. Take a movie like Padmavat, there was so much controversy around it, but when the film released, protests were withdrawn as they liked the film. Similarly, one should not be allowed to make cuts in a movie as it takes away from the filmmaker’s vision. I, personally do not agree with the censor board making cuts at all even if one can go around it because that is not their job.
Your past films have been about simple stories and people’s lives, however, the use of CGI and effects have been growing in the Indian film industries. Bengali cinema has been growing too, Kamaleshwar Mukherjee’s Chander Pahar is a fine example. Would you be interested in making such effects-based films and branching into different genres like fantasy?
I enjoy telling simple stories about simple, daily lives. I find regular people interesting, and basic relationships thrilling. I would not like to stray from telling realistic stories about regular people. However, I do respect the makers of fantasy films and believe that the use of CGI and other technology has a lot of scope in the Indian film industry. Bahubali is a shining example of that. Focusing on Bengali films, Satyajit Ray’s Professor Shonku is also being turned into a film with the use of visual effects. This demonstrates that regional films do have scope for fantasy and other genre.
Edited by Shivani Singh
Featured Image Courtesy: Radhika Chatterjee