Shekhar Kapur is best known for the sheer breadth of subjects that he explores as a talented filmmaker, be it the Oscar-winning ‘Elizabeth’ or the fun-packed Bollywood thriller ‘Mr India’. As his latest directorial venture hits the cinemas in the UK this week, shot in a Covid locked-down London, his versatility once again shines through.
In this interview, he tells iGlobal about his thoughts on the concept of arranged marriage that the story revolves around, giving his actors the freedom to find their own characters from the pages of the script and the importance of using talent to do good in the world.
How did it feel to watch this film for the first time?
Every film that I have ever done, when I look at it looks unfinished. There is just so much you want to do and not everything can come into one film. Especially as I look at all my characters emotionally and as a I am living through my characters, each character is me, and therefore it’s an unfinished me. The whole thing about art is that it is always unfinished, life is always unfinished, creativity is unfinished.
How do you view the concept of arranged marriage, the theme of the film?
Arranged is just a term. Marriages are arranged everywhere; there are customs all over the world where senior members of the family try and get young people together.
I think finding a relationship is a very important thing. In a certain way, marriage when it first developed was supposed to be between families. Now, when everybody lives individually, the very idea of a marriage had to be reassessed as two individuals taking on each other – that’s a fairly new concept. That’s not how marriage was defined.
In my mind, yes you can do that [arranged marriage] but there has to be a certain amount of love and understanding and forgiving and humility, because without a sense of humility no relationship is possible.
Love is a continuous thing, it’s a constant . Life is not interesting if you know exactly what tomorrow is going to bring or what love is going to bring. You have to constantly work at it.
The great mystery of love is that when it stops being a mystery it’s over.
Did shooting over lockdown throw up new sides to your art?
You discover new sides to yourself each time you make a film. The way I make a film is that I become every character – when I did ‘Elizabeth’, I was Elizabeth, when I did ‘Bandit Queen’, I was Bandit Queen. Each character is me because how do I get people interested to perform unless I can be that character, go on a journey with the .
I’m not a great believer in skill. I think skill is overrated. It should be there, but what is really important about creativity is honesty.
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Looking ahead to future projects, what’s in store?
I have to go on making that mean something to me personally. And the environment to me is a huge thing. If I don’t make a film on global warming or the environment as a dramatic story, I’ll be irresponsible; because if you do have talent, then it’s a huge responsibility to use that talent to do good for the world. Therefore, I have to do it.
*Info: is out in cinemas on February 24