Sudhir Mishra’s new film, Afwaah, is due out this week.
Sudhir Mishra talks about his upcoming film Afwaah, supported by Abhinav Sinha, in an exclusive interview with News18.com.
Five years after Daas Dev (2018), filmmaker Sudhir Mishra is preparing for a theatrical release with Afwaah. Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bhumi Pednekar and Sumeet Vyas, the film revolves around how rumors can put people in life-threatening situations and wreak havoc. In an exclusive interaction with News18, Mishra tells us that the film industry has been plagued by multiple rumors time and time again, which has caused people to develop a poor perception of how it works.
He says, “People talk about the film industry as if we are the only ones responsible for jobs and the economy in India. Then there is nepotism. People think that many do not find work because of imaginary nepotism. Drawing examples of superstars like Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar who rose through the ranks of success and stardom without having any connection to the film industry, Mishra says, “Let’s talk about the big boys… Is Shah Rukh Khan the result of nepotism? Is Akshay Kumar the result of nepotism? No. People come from all over the country and work here. Are they all the result of nepotism? Of course, there is a certain amount of nepotism. But it exists even among lawyers and businessmen.
Much like many in showbiz who have spoken about the downsides of nepotism, the director of Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2005) and Serious Men (2020) points out that favoritism can only take an actor so far and after that it only merit that will determine the longevity of their career. “We’re not going to cast our kids if their movie doesn’t work and if it does, then we have the right to cast them. There is a third person in our lives: the public. We are not only small slaves of the trade but we are also interested in cinema and art. Even the worst director will make the right choice to make his films work. If the audience rejects the casting, they won’t get another movie. That our film industry is completely nepotistic is a rumor, but people believe it and then react,” he explains.
Mishra says the scourge of nepotism has robbed many actors of their hard work and trivialized their determination and sincerity. “I’ve been around. I’m quite senior. I come from a background where I saw power. It’s a pretty hard-working group of people. Of course, there are exceptions, but they are part of the same society,” he says.
So what does he attribute to this constant targeting mindset of actors and the film industry? “This same society says that for one person to succeed, it is important for another person to fail. We are part of the wickedness of the world. So it’s not just the film industry. Fierce competition and the glory of another person’s failure are part of the world we live in. As soon as we hear that someone is sick, the first thought that comes to us is that we are fine. Just like the rest of the world, the film industry has also fallen prey to this mindset,” he explains.
But keeping aside all the negativity surrounding Bollywood, Mishra is rather grateful to his longtime friend and filmmaker Anubhav Sinha for supporting a movie like Afwaah. “People say no one has the guts to make a movie like this. But Anubhav does. It’s easier said than done but it’s hard to bank on a thriller on rumors and to be true to the idea of film in our time”, he remarks. Talking about why Afwaah makes a relevant film, he adds: “This film is about what happens to an individual when he is chased by a rumor. It’s like a monster that starts chasing a person. Rumors are dangerous because they spread and infect so many people. Wherever you go, it precedes you. That’s what there is is terrible in a rumor. It also destroys the person who spreads it, vitiating the whole atmosphere. If children grow up in an environment like this, they will grow up and compete with the world, believing the rumors.
Afwaah is set to release on May 5, 2023.
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