The new movie, Angry Indian Goddesses is about celebration of life, friendship and womanhood. These girls, they find hearts and lose heads but what holds them back, is what will set them free. This was told to us by the director of the movie Pan Nalin. After Kary Arora, the music director of the movie, we got the opportunity to have a chat with the director. In an exclusive interview with A Journalist Reveals, Nalin said more about the movie as well as new assignments besides other things that matter in his life.
Where were you born? Tell us more about your childhood.
I was born in a tiny village near the border of Sasan Gir Forest, called Khijadia, which stands in ruins today. A few dozen families, including mine, lived there. We survived while we worked for the Western Railways, became jobless when its junction station was shut down. I spent first thirteen to fourteen years of my life there. My father had a tea stall on the platform of Khijadia Junction, often we all, my brothers and sisters, helped selling tea and ‘farsan.’ My father did not officially work for the Western Railways unlike the others in our village. My father would bribe the teachers so that we can attend the classes at the Western Railway School, since we studied there illegally. And all school kids used to wear blue and white uniform except me! The only temple was built with efforts made by my father. Otherwise, there were vast endless fields, open blue skies and life was eventful with occasional visits by lions from the nearby forest.
Did you have movies in mind as far as your future career was concerned when you were a child?
The moment I saw the first movie as a child, all I wanted to do was be in movies! My parents narrated many mythological epics. As a kid I liked drawing, but it was hard to find paper, so I used to draw on newspapers, railway tickets and cigarette boxes. Later I started collecting matchbox images and would often line them up, like a storyboard and make up a story. The village kids were suckers for my stories. I only saw the first movie when I was eight or nine years of age. After that I started going by train to the nearby town of Amreli for High School studies–but often I bartered my lunchbox for a movie show. In the local Jai Hind Theater, the projector operator loved eating delicious food cooked by my mother while I used to stay glued to the tiny window of the projection booth. It’s from there I used to consume doses of melodrama, songs, dance, action, angry indian men and women in wet saris! Life was indeed magical. I grew up watching mainstream Bollywood, and it’s in my DNA!
Which was your first movie as a director?
My first movie was Samsara, a spiritual and sensual love story set in Ladakh. It was acquired by Miramax (Disney) and released all over the world and grossed 130 crores in an international theatrical release and won about 30 international awards. It was a life changing moment. However, Samsara was my first full length feature film. Before that I had made many documentaries and short movies.
Did you start your movies career as a director?
No. I did many things before making movies. I started as production runner. Then I was a folk theater actor, photographer, graphic designer, etc. First during my teenage and adult years I had to work to support my family and education. However I always wanted to be in movies –that passion never changed. But also I never wanted to assist any film director because I believed that they will corrupt my cinematic visions and dreams!
Tell us how the current movie was conceived. And how did you proceed further with the concept?
I wanted to make a film with firebrand Indian women in lead roles. I was looking for finance. I wouldn’t get funds for long. I love great stories. Some of them were the trials and tribulations of modern women and ladies of yore. With rapid economic growth, our country witnessed the conflict of modernity versus traditions. I wanted to make a film about these women and the situation they were in.
Are you working on any new assignments?
I am working on a very unique rom-com A Perfect Wedding and on an epic action-adventure Satori with big actors from India and China. But at this moment it is a first India-New Zealand co-production, a spiritual thriller titled Beyond The Known World that we are working on. I’m currently doing post-production in New Zealand.
What do you do when you are not on the location or set or thinking about movies?
I try to touch lives of others by travelling deep and wide all over India or abroad. Listen to music which one will rarely find on the net, watch light, darkness, feel grass under my naked feet or feel fresh air brushing my skin…