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Filmmaking is like soccer, every team-member matters: Master Class at IFFI 53

Scared of wrong audience entering and watching my films: Shoojit Sircar

Test screenings good platform to get audience feedback: Advait Chandan

Posted On: 21 NOV 2022 7:56PM by PIB Mumbai

#IFFIWood, 21 November 2022


Filmmaking is not like painting or a game of tennis where individual contributions or hard work determine success. It is rather like soccer or cricket in which contributions of every team member is crucial. This is the sentiment shared by a Master Class conducted today on the sidelines of 53rd International Film Festival of India being held at Panaji, Goa. National Film Award winning Director Shoojit Sircar and Director/Screenwriter Advait Chandan participated in the Master Class on the topic ‘Filmmaking is a teamwork’.

Opening the session, Shoojit Sircar, Director of many acclaimed movies like Vicky Donor, Pink, Sardhar Udham said that while choosing his cast and crew he will give priority to people who understands him rather than their expertise. “One has to be conscious about the people whom they are working with. Most important in this is the interaction between writer and director. My passion is soccer. I love football than filmmaking. My experience in soccer comes handy while working together in a team for film making”, he said.

Reinforcing this opinion on teamwork, Advait Chandan, Director of Lal Singh Chaddha and Secret Superstar said that he would like to be the most stupid person in the room while selecting the cast and crew. “I like having people in my team I can look upto since I am not so experienced in film making”, he said.

Delving deep into the director-actor interactions that happen in film making, Shoojit Sircar said that the most important thing while dealing with an actor is his/her IQ level. “Some actors are good at acting, but their IQ level will be low. Some of their IQ levels are so high that we find it difficult to answer their questions regarding the script. Various methods need to be applied on different actors to manipulate them so that justice can be done to the script and the vision shared by cinema. You have to go scene by scene, script by script to get your vision materialised.”

Working with actors is ‘horses for courses’ opined Advait on this aspect. He added that if the director loves every member of the cast and crew genuinely, he/she can correct the mistakes of the team and go forward. He equated the process of finding a good crew to finding a good partner. “Film is like a marriage. You have to treat your crew like partner with respect and love. Sometimes you will get along. Sometimes you will part ways. You will agree, disagree, argue and fight. But you will either convince the other person or get yourself convinced.”, he detailed.

Sharing tips on how to ‘unblock’ a writer’s block in the script writing process, Shoojit said that director and writer need to interact and spend a lot of time discussing, doing offbeat talk even outside of the script to achieve it. Replying to question on his learnings from Aamir Khan, Advait Chandan said that Aamir is literally a film school from which there is a lot to learn for new film makers. “Aamir is very open and receptive. He genuinely listens to his team and their feedback”, he further added.

Directors shared contrasting views on the idea of test screenings of films. While Advait said that it is good to take feedback from audience regarding the films, Shoojit expressed that he is completely against the idea. “Audience is the last thing in my film. For me the important thing is the vision of the narrative I am having. What I have made or attempt to make, there is no better judge for it than me”, he pointed out. He further added that his only fear is wrong audience entering and watching his films.

Shoojit Sircar also brushed aside the notion of the pressure mounting from people’s expectations about next film. “Pressure is neither from people, nor the industry, but myself. I made some bad films. I had made millions of mistakes. Film after film, I try my best to correct these mistakes”, he said. He also made it clear that a producer’s job is not to invest in films to make more money, but to invest creatively in the process of film making.

On the question of zones he want to explore as film maker, Advait replied that he don’t go zone wise, but story wise and feeling wise. Film journalist Himesh Mankad moderated the session.


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