These are the words of John Mathew Matthan, Chairperson of IFFI 51 Indian Panorama Jury and National Film Award-winning film writer, producer and director. He was conversing with film journalist Faridoon Shahryar during a virtual In-Conversation Session titled “DO YOU HAVE IT?”, held as part of the virtual offering of 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI), being held in Goa.
Shri Matthan has won the National Film Award for the film Sarfarosh (1999), which he directed and produced and for which he wrote the story-screenplay as well. Speaking about this film, the maker of more than 200 films said: “Songs have a purpose in movies. At the time when this movie was made, music was a big component in terms of revenue. I did not like the idea of having two romantic songs in the film”.
It is the fifth version of #Sarfarosh2 script which got finalized
Sarfarosh 2 is dedicated to our CRPF personnel
– Veteran Film-maker and @IFFIGoa Indian Panorama Jury Chairperson John Mathew Matthan
In-Conversation with @iFaridoon
— PIB in Goa (@PIB_Panaji) January 19, 2021
Highlighting the iterative process which he underwent while writing the script of Sarfarosh 2, Shri Matthan said: “I wrote the script of Sarfarosh 2 for about 5-6 times, before finalizing it. When I wrote the script, I looked at its criticism and kept it aside. After 5-6 months, I started writing it again and came across new potholes. This is actually the fifth script of Sarfarosh-2 which has been finalized”. “You have to have good friends who are critical of you”, added the ace film-maker.
Revealing more about Sarfarosh 2, he said, it is about the internal security of India. “It shows how India’s security stands strong in spite of various problems”. He informed that he is dedicating the movie to the CRPF personnel, who bear the brunt of these problems.
About his strong liking for Urdu poetry, although he is a Malayali, he said, “Urdu is a beautiful language. From my Muslim friends, I have developed an interest and appreciation for Urdu poetry and ghazals”. The Late Shafi Inamdar was Matthan’s friend. When asked about his language of thinking, he said it is Malayalam – “My thoughts come in Malayalam, but I cannot write in Malayalam. I write in Hindi using Roman script”.
The veteran also reveals, “film-making is a risky business”. In the case of a particular film, Matthan could just pay back his loan and had to incur some loss. A subject of liking for the veteran film-maker is the evolution of religion and how it has impacted the human race. He feels life has become much easier now with access to the internet. Speaking about his experience as Jury-Chairman for Indian Panorama, he says, “I saw 180 films and realized how diverse we are”. He added India is a bubbling active democracy. “This is a country to be embraced and loved”.
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