“Cinema is the mirror of society”
“Filmmakers show only those things that are already happening in society. It is no rhetoric. In my view, worse things are happening in society. But we don’t give them space. Even the common man knows very well as to what’s going on,” said film director Sisir Mishra in conversation with Ravi Mishra. Excerpts:
You have been in the film industry for a long time and have given your immense contribution to this area. How did you come into film industry?
There is a very interesting story behind my break into film industry. I think that one incident apparently changed my life. Since the beginning, I have been very much involved in writing stories. Not only this, I was also deeply involved in drama and acting. I was secretary of drama group in Brahmpur College and would do both acting and direction. In 1960, the young generation was eager to work in films. I was not the exceptional any more. I was also fond of working in movies. By the help of Dhinendra Mishra, one of the famous Odia film directors and producers at that time, I got an opportunity to work in Prabhat Mukherjee’s film Dashyu Ratnakar as a junior artist. Although, I did not play my role correctly in that movie, it would be appropriate for me to say that it opened the doors of this sector for me. One day Prabhat Mukherjee scolded me because I did not play my role properly. I asked Dhineendra Mishra: What is the role of a director in a film? He told me that the director is all in all in a film. Then, I decided to be a director instead of becomin an actor. But I was very young at that time. I completed my BSc and MSc in physics and worked as a lecturer of physics in Bhadra College. But my dream to be a film director was still in my mind. I collected some money and subsequently decided to go to Mumbai to work in film industry. There were very less film making in Odia film industry at that period. Owing to this, I felt that Hindi film industry is the place where I can learn a lot. And this was the reason I decided to work in Hindi film industry.
Was your first film in Hindi or Odia?
Sindur Bindu was my first film and obviously it was in Odia. In 1982, I directed Bhigi Palke, in which Raj Babbar and Smita Patil were in lead roles.
The story of this movie, based on the life of husband and wife, was told by my wife Kadambini Mishra. Thereafter, I directed Samay Ki Dhara, where Shatrughan Sinha, Shabana Ajmi, Vinod Mehra and Tina Munim including a child were in lead roles. I directed another Odia film Samay Bada Balwan, which broke all the records. This film enchanted the crowd so much that even people from far-flung areas would come in their bullock carts for this movie.
You have also been awarded with Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
I got Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award later on. Prior to that, I was awarded with prestigious “Jayadeva Award” by the Odisha government.
You have been awarded with Padma Shri too!
I got Padma Shri this year.
You come from Odisha, a backward state. You shifted to Mumbai and directed various films while Kalinga Studio is in Odisha. What would you suggest to Odisha government to improve conditions in Odia film industry?
It was the golden period of Kalinga Studio in my time. I always suggested filmmakers to create movies through this studio so that Odia film industry could remain alive.
Pratap Jena is the Minister of Information and Broadcasting as well as Health in Odisha government. He cleared Kalinga Studios, and due to his efforts, now the studio is being rebuilt. I hope the filmmaking process will be resumed soon.
Nowadays, in movies, we see vulgar and violence scenes morethan those in your time. What is your reaction to this?
Earlier, Hindi movies were based on family. But today’s films are directed on the basis of Hollywood cinemas. Yes, there is a huge chang. Earlier, good cinemas were not possible without famous film actors and actresses, but today the situation has changed and good cinemas are being made with small actors. At present, you will find a huge diversity in Indian cinema industry. On the one hand, films are carrying the big nameslike Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan, on the other hand, Rajkumar Rao and Nawazuddin Siddiqui are also successful. Now they have also become big names.
In recent days, we have seen various controversial films, which were subsequentlybanned. Is the Censor Board not competent enugh to handle such films?
No, this is not the truth. Controversies were seen when Pahalaj Nihalini was inducted as the chairman of the Censor Board. As his tenure ended, Prashun Joshi became chairman and situation took a U-turn.
But, how is it appropriate to show those things that are inappropriate for society?
Here, I don,t agree with you. Filmmakers show only those things that are already happening in society. It is no rhetoric. In my view, worse things are happening in society. But we don’t give them space. Even the common man knows very well as to what’s going on. Cinema is the mirror of society.
You have made a short film on famous Konark Sun Temple. Tell us something about it
Cinema is my passion, my religion and my worship. As per the script of this film, it would take six hours, that too in two parts. But I decided to make the film of short duration, so that people could know how the temple came into being. How this temple was built by 1200 craftmen in 12 years. And what happened that the temple was broken. So, I showed this whole story in 17 minutes through my short film.
Which are your next films?
Currently, I am working on a romantic film Tu Hasi, Mein Jawan. There is also a comedy film named Brahmchario ki Shadi.
You have received so many awards. Who is your inspiration?
My inspiration is my wife. I always worshiped art and never ran behind money.
What has been your most happy moment so far?
I don’t think it has come yet. Though, I hope it will come soon.