Exclusive: ‘Sherni’ director Amit V Masurkar talks about his passion for working on offbeat stories
Writer-director Amit V Masurkar is in a happy space, with his film Sherni starring Vidya Balan, impressing audiences and critics alike. The National Award-winning director has been courageous enough to try uncommon subjects and stories for mainstream films. First, with Newton (2017) which went to the 2018 Oscar race and now with Sherni, Amit is clearly avoiding the beaten path.
His first film Sulemani Keeda (2013), became the inspiration for his second film Newton, when the word ‘elections’ caught his eye and the film explored themes such as democracy, identity and duty. Sherni, on the other hand, Amit says, is a reflection of his discussions with a friend and writer of Sherni, Aastha Tiku. “She is passionate about the subject and used to discuss making a film about tiger conservation with me for the last four years. The idea was to convey a message that we need to save this flagship species in order to conserve the entire food chain,” explains the director.
Off late, there haven’t been many films on wildlife, for makers complain about the tedious permission process. However, it wasn’t the same for Amit. In fact, Amit reveals that they used forest departments’ offices and equipment in the film. “A lot of guards and officers have acted in the film — which is why our film has a very authentic feel,” he says.
When asked if he had any apprehension about bringing Vidya on-board to play the protagonist in a profoundly male-dominated industry, Amit explains, “The protagonist is a woman because the writer of Sherni is a woman and she wrote the characters. For me, it’s the soul of the story and the characters that matter. If you have a good script, you’ll always find collaborators.”
“Vidya is a director’s actor and we share a good rapport. As an actor, she’s open and loves being challenged. She trusted me and pushed herself to play a multi-layered character which is different from all the other roles you’ve seen her play in the recent past,” adds the director in conclusion.