Pinkvilla Exclusive: I sold my house to make Monsoon Shootout : Guneet Monga
November 11, 2013 Bolly-Freak 9989 reads 6 comments
Guneet Monga has seen much success in her films such as 'Gangs of Wasseypur', 'Peddlers' and 'The Lunchbox'. She is the co-founder of Sikhya Entertainment and CEO at Anurag Kashyap Films Pvt. Ltd. (AKFPL). Guneet's passion for film-making can be gauged from the fact that she sold her house to make a movie. Well, apparently, Guneet's efforts have paid off as she makes a mark in the highly competitive world of Cinema.
Pinkvilla caught up with this highly talented film-maker as she talks of her wonderful career and her mentor, Anurag Kashyap. Read on..
You've been working with Anurag Kashyap for over 4 years now. When did he decide to let you do it your way?
Right after we did 'That girl in yellow boots', Anurag asked me to assume the role of running the company. At this point I must mention, Anurag is a mentor to me, so when he said it, I could not dare to say no. He has a vision for the company and I want to be able to realize that. I have never asked him why he did ask me.
Especially since his communication skills gets in the way after some time...how do you guys work out your equation?
Fortunately he has always been there for me whenever needed. I know that tomorrow if I need to speak to him, he will make the time and ensure I get it. He is someone who is very accessible, to the entire organisation and a great leader.
We've heard how tough it has been for you to produce films. You once sold your house for Monsoon Shootout. Has that paid off?
Who ever said filmmaking was easy or producing them was, is clearly lying. Yes, I did sell my home to make Monsoon Shootout, and every time I see the film, I know I would do it all over again. My pay off was the fact that when the film screened at Cannes this year to a filled auditorium, the applause and the standing ovation made every bit worth while. The film is amazing and will be released soon, we are currently chalking out the release strategy.
The Lunchbox has reaped some rewards, are you upset it didn't go to the Academy?
No. I think every film has its journey and I am glad The Lunchbox continues to carve its own journey. Its become this massive cross over film that has been sold world over and will release worldwide. Just that simple thought puts a smile on our face. The entire team worked hard into making this happen and seeing that turn to reality is great.
You have a scene in Aiyyaa dressed as a prostitute. Who made you do that...
I dont know. I keep telling myself that maybe I too have been bitten by the acting bug. I remember when Sachin and Rani asked me, I was first hesitant, then agreed nearly instantly. I enjoyed it. I think for me its one of those quirks that you do with all your heart, more so to enjoy that feeling.
One hypothetical question: Will Rang Rasiya ever release? Why is it stuck? We still want to see it.
I hope so. Ketan Mehta is a fabulous director. I don't know the status of the film, but I do know that I have been a great fan of his films, from Maya Memsaab to Mirch Masala and even Mangal Pandey. I am looking forward to seeing the film in theatres myself.
Has the gap for independent cinema from India narrowed on the festival circuit since you first began?
I think the fact that more Indian films are getting out there and are being appreciated by international audiences is great. That just means festivals and audiences at large are looking forward and keeping an eye out for good Indian films. We are definitely making a mark internationally, small albeit, but nevertheless, the process has begun. What’s even better is that now its just good films or bad films and no longer bracketed into ‘commercial’, so called ‘art house’ or ‘inde’.
Are things looking better only for independent, or even mainstream films from India, abroad?
Like I say, fortunately the line between Inde and non-inde films is blurring. Now audiences just see good film and bad film. This is more true in the international context. Today Indian films are seeing a release in non traditional markets like Japan, China, Chile and France among others. Where was this possible a few years back? People are opening up to good Indian cinema, slowly the tag of all Indian films being "Bollywood" and song and dance is dissipating.
From That Girl In Yellow Boots to now you being this girl with grey hair, how would you say the journey has been so far?
My hair is no longer grey (laughs). earlier on I dyed it grey also because when I began I was 24 and was in all these serious meetings where it was crucial the other person took me seriously. In the process they actually turned grey. With regards to the journey, I think it continues. From being a complete novice in the space to now having understood how things function, I am someone who believes that there is constant room for learning. At the end of the day, I want to be able to look back at life and say ' hey. not bad' , there's still a long long way for that.
What are the films you are currently watching? what excites you about Indian cinema right now - in regional, and mainstream?
I don't get the time to watch a lot of films. I was recently on the jury at Zurich International Film Festival and that's when I caught up on some great films. I have seen recent films like Gravity, Le Jaula De Oro, The Rocket and have loved them. In India I recently saw Filmistaan by Nittin Kakkar and Fandry by Nagraj Manjule and thought they were wonderful.