Pinki Elli? filmmaker Prithvi Konanur was talking about the importance of heading to the streets and finding talent and how Iranian cinema has better ideas than Indian films when Rani interjected
Kannada filmmaker Prithvi Konanur is not the most popular name even back home, having made a bunch of film festival darling movies that have found no takers on OTT. The quality of his films, Pinky Elli? and Hadinelentu in particular, ensured that Prithvi was recently a part of a roundtable conducted by Bharadwaj Rangan, which also included the likes of Karan Johar, Taapsee, Rani Mukerji, Rima Das and Jude Anthany Joseph.
During the limited time that Prithvi got to talk, he highlighted the indifference of OTT platforms towards Kannada films, and his love of casting ‘real’ people, by hitting the streets and finding the right talent for the stories he wants to tell. That, he reckons, is the basic idea of filmmaking. He then proceeded to add that it is also why he asks people to watch Iranian cinema, because Indian films is still far behind them. While Prithvi wanted people to watch Iranian films to see how advanced they are in terms of ideas, for which, exploring stuff at a grassroot level is important. This, however, did not sit well with Rani, who took offence to Prithvi’s statement that Indian cinema ought to learn from others. She then proceeded to give an impassioned speech about India’s diversity and its advantages, only to then mention Prithvi as a ‘Kannad’ filmmaker. Since the roundtable discussion came out, netizens have been pointing out that Rani talking over others comes from a place of entitlement and have been schooling her.
There are comments on the YouTube page of the interview as well as on social media, ranging from, “Rani Mukherjee took great offence of Prudhvi, either for calling Iranian cinema better than Indian, or for honestly telling that he doesn't like Karan Johar kind of movies. And the rest just followed on the argument rather than giving their view”, to “Would've been nice if someone corrected the bangla speaking heroine that it's kannada and not kannad”, “Only towards the end, the discussion got a bit skewed thanks to Rani Mukherjee, who was quite annoying and didn't know when to stop talking”, “The only downer was RANI MUKHERJEE towards the end. It felt like she just wouldn't shut up! Felt like an over-eager graduate in a group discussion who made a point which wasn't lapped up by everyone and she couldn't take it. Constantly butting, which felt disrespectful to the other speakers”, “After listening to Rima and others, I hope Rani understands that how privileged she is and she sounds. Worried about her daughter waking up at 6 in the cold for online school 😅. Most of the kids wake up at 6 or 7 to go to school and she is not waking up in a tent in the cold but in an air conditioned room. Hope she learnt something by listening to others about how they struggled for years to make a film,” and “It's not necessary you have to contradict someone's opinion when they are vocal especially when an Indie filmmaker like Mr. Prudhvi wants to talk”, among others.
Several pointed out that Rani misunderstood Prithvi and that there’s nothing wrong in what he said. They were also appalled that Prithvi got no support from the rest of the panel when he made his point. “Rani misunderstood Prithvi's point of view. I see the family in A Separation directed by Asghar as my own family and identify with their story and characters the same way I relate to Malayalam cinema. Rani should understand that good storytelling that is rooted are important than budget based films. He means that Iranian films have low budget and they struggle to exist when filmmakers and writers are working in a country where freedom of speech or their own profession is threatened by the government. Still they make good movies that found audience around the world,” explained one user.