Odisha Literary Festival 2020: ‘OTTs Have Democratised Cinema’, Says ‘A Suitable Boy’ Director Mira Nair

Bhubaneswar: Filmmaking is a political act and so is art, said filmmaker Mira Nair. Because a film or a piece of art is a point of view that its maker has and how one can choose to silence a character or give it a body, speaking to senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai, on the second day of The New Indian Express’s Odisha Literary Festival 2020, hosted virtually on Friday, the newspaper reported.

Speaking about her recently released ‘The Suitable Boy’, the director, who was born in Rourkela and spent 18 years of her life in Bhubaneswar, said she has attempted to bring back the politics and the language of the then period (newly independent India) as portrayed in Seth’s novel, to the TV drama, TNIE reported.

“The adaptation of A Suitable Boy was already being done by Andrew Davies for BBC before I got involved in the project (as the director). There were many constraints, including budget and approach to the Western world, that I had to face. In India, we see the novel as a portrayal of our own people, but in the Western world, they still consider it radical to make a six-part series on a ‘brown’ epic or a saga that only has South Asians in it. It’s extraordinary that this outlook still exists,” Nair was quoted as saying.

Nair said the seeds of the politics that is sadly raging in India today were all there in Vikram’s novel. “Be it constructing a mosque in front of the temple, the Hindu-Muslim divide, loyal friendships that existed then, or the fluid intermingling of cultures,” said the filmmaker.

“Making this film was like going back to the simplicity and actual beauty of a life without advertisements, hoarding, colors — a life that was deeply Indian without us realizing or loving it as much,” she told Bamzai.

The filmmaker has earlier made films like Salaam Bombay!, Kama Sutra, Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and Mississippi Masala. OTTs have changed the game for actors, filmmakers, and distribution networks now, she was quoted as saying.

​“The OTT platforms are unbelievably democratic. ‘A Suitable Boy’ received much more response than all my films did just because of the accessibility of it. Also, it gives filmmakers the freedom to make long-form cinema,” Nair was quoted as saying.

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