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Exclusive! Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury: Don’t think boycott gang can impact the business of a film

In a chat with OTTplay, the Pink-director talked about his film, his idea on the ‘boycott gang’ on social media, and a lot more. Read on…  

Exclusive! Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury: Don’t think boycott gang can impact the business of a film
Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury

Last Updated: 05.10 PM, Feb 13, 2023


National Award-winning filmmaker Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and actress Yami Gautam were in Kolkata while promoting their film, Lost. The film, which also features Pia Bajpayiee, Neil Bhoopalam, Pankaj Kapur, and others, will be released on Zee5 on February 17. In a chat with OTTplay, the Pink-director talked about his film, his idea on the ‘boycott gang’ on social media, and a lot more. Read on…

You made Lost for theatrical release and not it got released on an OTT platform. How do you feel about that?

When I make a film, I make it for the big screen. Now it was released on Zee5, which is an OTT platform, and I am very happy. Everything has its trade-off. It is going to get released in 190-odd countries. I can take this one film to so many people, all at once. However, as a director, I perceive stories on the big screen. This is also true for the ad campaigns I direct.


While making this film, how did you balance between the big-screen films and something suitable for the OTT space?

It doesn’t matter to me. Cinema is cinema. My cinema-making will not change. Just because it is for small screens I will not just use tight frames. It depends on the grammar of the film. There are so many films that we watched on small screens. I watched Out Of Africa on a small screen since I could not watch it on the big screen during its release. I can tell you will full responsibility that you need not change anything technically.

I think big. If I make a film on Africa, will I only take small shots? Life has changed. It has evolved and gone somewhere else. And now people will watch films on different gadgets. We did not have so much exposure in our childhood. For my daughter, everything is within her reach. We used to wait for the Kolkata Film Festival, etc.

Tell us about Lost…

We wanted to do a story on commitment and integrity. We were brainstorming many stories. Then we role-modeled somebody, started adding ingredients, and gathered anecdotes. Shyamal (Sengupta) and I wrote the story. Then he wrote the screenplay and that was fantastic. Ritesh (Shah) joined in and it evolved. It followers a classical structure of writing. We thought of an idea that progressed into a bigger structure organically. It is a very honest and true effort. It has shades of realism.

How was your experience of working with Yami Gautam and why did you choose her?

The experience of working with her was awesome. Many journalists are asking this question. You know, it happened. While working on something, you often meet the right person and that clicks. She is the best Vidhi in the world. I told her also.

Tell us about your experience of shooting in Kolkata. How was it?

It is superb. My next film is also in Kolkata. It is my city and I am connected to it. It gives you back everything you want. You should ask Yami. We got help from everybody. Random people on street helped us in managing the crowd.

Your next film is with Pankaj Tripathy, Jaya Ahsan, and Parvathy Thiruvothu. Tell us about your experience…

All three are brilliant. I agree that a boom in the OTT space in India helped Pankaj to flourish better. It expanded the horizon. It brought a lot of global standards came to us because of the OTT boom. If you are spending money, you would like to spend it on the right thing. OTT reaches out to everyone with work. That’s very important.

It has been a while since you did not make a Bengali film…

This year, inshallah, I will make a Bengali film (laughs). I have been going through a few scripts. I am also feeling like working in Bengali. For me, a film is a film, language doesn’t matter. I also want to make a Malayalam film. I spoke with Parvathy Thiruvothu. I have a Malayali producer friend. I had a word with him also. I don’t make many films and I intend to explore other languages also. Right now, I am feeling like working on a Bengali film and I will work on it.

Your films are often liked by critics and viewers alike. When you decide to make a film, do you think about what the audience would like or do you just tell the story you prefer to tell…

I tell my stories. It is like love. When you are in love with someone, would you hold their hand thinking about how people around you are going to react to it? Or do you follow your heart and hold their hand? When I make a film I feel like telling that story. If I am convinced by the story, people will also be convinced. It is the director’s conviction that you watch on the screen. If I believe in my films people will also believe in them. If I don’t believe in what I make, people will also not believe in it. Your integrity will reflect on the screen. It will resonate

What are your thoughts on censorship in the OTT space in India?

I don’t like any kind of censorship in life. I have an idea and if you come and censor it, it is not good. But what to do? A rule is a rule. Yes, I will have problems but I will carry on. The entire idea of censorship is rubbish. Even in life – another person dictating terms in your life is also pretty unacceptable. For example, if someone draws a boundary in my personal life, friends circle, or love life, I will not like it.

Do you think this trend of boycotting culture on social media can impact the business of a film?

I don’t think it affects the business. If the content is good and if I want to watch something, I will watch it no matter what. The Internet has been accessed by the wrong kind of people. They spread hatred. These are deep individual perversions.

Did you watch Pathaan?

I don’t miss Shah Rukh Khan films. I watch. I can’t hoot or whistle but I screamed, ‘Jio, SRK’. So for Mr Bachchan (Amitabh Bachchan). I watched Sharaabi, Laawaris multiple times. There was a time when I used to watch noon matinees and evening shows back to back. I used to go mad.

After the emergence of OTT, do you think the power of stardom faded a little?

You saw what happened in Pathaan. People went berserk. Along with stardom, if there is a good story, it will work like magic.

With so many OTT platforms, do you see the sign on content saturation?

I think so many stories are coming up. So many of them. You get to watch Mukhbir, The Morning Show, Panchayat, Delhi Crime and so many of them.

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