National Award-winning filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee, who has directed one of the four short films as part of Netflix's anthology "Lust Stories", is feeling the pre-release jitters. He says he has always had to find a way to survive in the competitive business as his works have an alternate voice.
"Lust Stories", out on Friday, is an anthology film with contribution from Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar and Dibakar, who had earlier created "Bombay Talkies". This time, they have told four stories revolving around love and lust.
Banerjee, known for movies like "Khosla Ka Ghosla" and "Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!", told IANS: "My films are different. They never set the box office on fire. I have always had to find a way to survive in the business, facing competition.
"So whether a film is releasing on a digital platform or in a theatre, it does not ease the pressure or that pre-release anxiety because here also I am competing with three other iconic directors of our film business."
Pointing out the basic difference between filmmaking and any other art forms like writing a novel, music and painting, Banerjee said: "A movie takes a lot of money to make. It takes not only money, but people and logistics.
"I have come from an extremely middle-class family, and I am told that if you have used someone's money, you better repay it before celebrating your success with the single malt. So whenever I took money from anyone, like a studio, producer or a Netflix, I try to find a way to justify the financial outlet.
"Therefore, I am always under the pressure.... Also, because I have a different or alternative voice in my films, I always kind of survived on the edges. If people will not praise my film enough, I will be heartbroken."
In "Lust Stories", the narrative of Banerjee's story features Sanjay Kapoor, Manisha Koirala and Jaideep Ahlawat. It revolves around the love story of a middle-aged couple.
What made him choose to explore a subject like that instead of a young love story?
"Honestly, I am 48 now and have no air of how it feels like an 18-year-old guy who falls in love and sings songs and recites poetry to his lover with lyrics like 'Tu hi mera khuda, tu hi jannat...'.
"Middle-aged love story is more complex because that is when the real companionship starts with the person who is living with you for a long time. The excitement and passion of early days goes away by then and then starts the real deep, insightful conversation.
"That is when you talk about power, money, entitlement, the baggage of a relation at this phase... We would rather discuss the complexity of life," explained the "Love Sex Aur Dhokha" director.
Having started his career in Bollywood in 2006 with a storytelling that offers quirk, realism with a high value of entertainment, Banerjee's "Khosla Ka Ghosla" and "Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!" both won the National Awards.
However, he says he oes not relate to those films anymore.
"You may find it weird, but whether it is 'Khosla Ka Ghosla' or 'Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!', I think those are not my films. Those films were made by a director named Dibakar whom I do not relate to in present time. I won't be able to make those films now."
"Because I am changing as an individual. If anything, those films hold a great value of nostalgia. I think that is happening to all of us, as we enter a new phase of life, we change and look at our work from a distance."
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at email@example.com)