- Category: Interview
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A Brilliant Marine Engineer, a successful Aentrepreneur, a gifted writer, the architect of an award winning documentary, and the director of one of the most anticipated Hollywood movies of the year! I was a bit confused about where to start when Mr.Sohan Roy cheerfully waved me into his Dubai Office. But his unstoppable energy and the reassuring smile helped me to find my words. Some of the ideas expressed by him to All Lights go like this……
DAM999 has been rated as one of the most anticipated movies of 2011. What are your expectations?
Thank you. We are lucky that the film industry has accepted the pre-promotions and the interest the movie has created in the industry trade circle. Yes, we have a lot of expectations and we are sure that the movie will live up to the hopes and expectations.
I never expected that a debut movie would generate so much interest. Perhaps it's the theme of the movie and its USP's that created the attention.
As a platform for your debut as a film director, your preference was Hollywood. What were the challenges faced by you?
Many people asked me this question on why I was going straight to Hollywood, when there were many opportunities to strike gold with regional language films, considering that the country I come in from has the second biggest film industry in the world. But you only live once, so why not start your first shot from the best. Also the concept of 'DAM999', I thought had a wider prospect and the whole world should see it.
The challenges were many. Even thought I had the best technicians in the world with me, the industry they were working with was completely different from Hollywood. Hence both the working systems had to synchronize and we had to do a lot of hard work initially to make that possible.
Your debut book has a strong social message. What did you want to convey to your readers?
In 2007, I read an article on Mullaperiyar Dam in Kerala. Later on in the same year, I had an opportunity to visit the Dam site along with a team of journalists. More than the dilapidated condition of the dam, what disturbed me was the plight of thousands of people living in that area. They were living under the trauma of the possible collapse of the dam.
When I started reading more about it, i realized that the issue was far more alarming than what the public was aware of. The scenario was exactly similar to that of Banqiao. In 1975, about 250000 people perished in China as a result of the Banqiao dam disaster. In comparison, the situation in Mullaperiyar was even worse due to the geographical features of the area. The authorities as well as the people in high places underplayed the gravity of this humanitarian issue by projecting it as a mere interstate water dispute.
As an inhabitant of the area, I could feel the fear, anxiety and helplessness of the people living there. Hence my feelings found the shape of words in my debut work DAM999.
When the movie is released, do you expect a social rethinking about constructing ecologically challenging huge dams as a reaction
of the audience?
I am a story teller. I have observed people, their lives and emotions. Some of those observations created deep, indelible impressions in me. My fiction, the characters and the sequence of events are the products of those impressions.
Look at what is happening around us- indiscriminate use of pesticides, massive deforestation and polluting the rivers, sea and air. The global warming, scarcity for drinking water and natural disasters are only symptoms- Symptoms of great disasters to come!
I have raised a question mark against the wisdom of building huge dams across rivers without proper eco impact, seismic and geographical studies. If my work creates a rethinking about this like any socially responsible person; iam satisfied.
As a change from a normal Hollywood movie, you have used your movie THEME as the marketing tool instead of showing 'stars'. Does it point towards a new marketing trend in the film industry?
DAM999 has 9 strong characters as its pillars and they equally carry the movie forward. No one has more importance that the other. It would have been difficult to have 9 A-list actors and hence I thought why not make the "concept and the story" the main star of the movie.
I don't think that it points towards a new marketing strength as its mainly the stars who sell the film apart from the story. At the end of the day you don't want your film to be a well-intentioned experiment. You want it to be a film that finds an enthusiastic supportive audience. But yes innovative strategies do catch the attention.
What do you have in mind as your next project?
My next movie is on Pirates of Somalia, a very controversial and politically debated issue.
As you would know the piracy and hijacking of ships are on an increase in coast of Somalia and no one is able to stop it, not even the naval powers of countries like US, France etc.
Now the most influential people in the shipping industry are literally these pirates who have influenced the trade dropouts in the last few years.
But my movie will not just be an action packed adventure but will also throw light on the lives of these pirates and the emotional aspects of the issues which created these pirates.
What is more challenging to you- the complicated formulae of Ship Design or the portrayal of the delicate Navarasa of human life?
Ship designing is all about mathematical calculations based on definite rules and study results. There is no element of uncertainty involved in it.
But the transactions of human mind are far more complex in nature. Different persons react to the same situation in different ways. Why, the same person reacts to the same situation differently at different occasions!! What I mean is that human mind does not obey any behavioral rules or pattern, and hence needs a bigger canvas to portrait.
If you ask me about the challenge involved…Yes, understanding the unknown territory is more challenging.
What is your message to the readers of All Lights?
Cinema is a sublime blend of art, craft and technology and is above all, a cultural artifact. Cinema has its own language, which has the power to communicate universally. A true lover of cinema owes a mighty deal to the art form. Film magazines do their part to fulfill the world's obligation to cinema.
I wish 'All Lights' every success in its mission.