Art n Life

Mera Kuch Samaan rocks on

May 18, 2020 06:06 AM

Balpreet Kaur, a veteran journalist, has ventured extensively into the short films. Now she has three short films to her credit. Her latest venture, Mera Kuch Samaan, released on PTC Punjabi Box Office hit the screens on May 15. A renowned Art critic Roopam Singh talks to her about her latest venture.


Q: How are you feeling after the release of Mera Kuch Samaan ?

‘A  feel very relaxed after its release on May 15, 2020. It was a very challenging film to make – very challenging to write and then conceive it, block it and shoot it since 80 per cent of it is shot in a small room and the conversation has been of extreme importance. So writing the dialogues too was a big challenge. And since the film involves intense performances, zeroing in on my cast and doing workshops was an intense effort too. So overall, it’s a good feeling that all the pain and effort have found great results since the reviews I am getting are really nice. 

Q: How did the transition from journalism to cinema happen?

A: I was always extremely passionate about cinema and was a theatre actor. And then my 16 years of journalistic experience across The Indian Express, The Hindustan Times and then Day & Night News involved meeting and interviewing big greats representing cinema & other performing arts. Also, my television experience as a producer, entertainment head & TV show hostess – all of which included writing scripts, conceiving shoots and overseeing the editing  - prepared me and gave me a great base. I was also the Director of My Dream Academy – an acting academy we had started in Mohali which had on its panel the likes of Adil Hussain, Yashpal Sharma, Dolly Ahluwalia, Neelam Man Singh Chowdhary, Kamal Tewari & many more. Here, it was all about cinema. And then finally when I decided to freelance my skills, I got great chances to make documentaries (for Verka, for Mr Bir Devinder Singh, for the Punjab government and more) and I also got a chance to write a full-length film for the silver screen (it is yet to be shot). Soon after, PTC approached me and gave me a wonderful platform to make 45-minute feature films for their PTC Box Office. Now after writing and directing three such films, I am very confident of making big-screen cinema soon. I have at least three scripts ready with me. So God willing, I am now going to start finding producers.

Q:Why did you choose the format of a short feature film for your debut?

A: Actually the first film I wrote was a full-length feature film for the big screen. I had written the script, screenplay and dialogues for the film but due to producers falling out, it went on to the backburner. Meanwhile, the PTC Box Office approached me to write and direct a short film. That is how ‘Hari Chutney’ got written and that was my debut as a writer and director.

The short film format is a complete training in itself. In this case, in just 45 minutes, you have to tell a story – so it trains you to tell a story crisply. And now as we see, this format is carving its place on all platforms. Audiences prefer to watch shorter films and it is a genre I certainly don’t mind! It’s very gratifying!   

 Q: Tell us more about ‘Mera Kuch Saman’

 A:  ‘Mera Kuch Samaan’ is inspired by George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Arms And The Man’. Though my story takes a different turn, but there are references from the play. Also, I have made this film as an ode to Gulzar. He is someone I so deeply relate with and have grown up on his writing and cinema.

The film, through a chance encounter between an Indian solider and a Pakistani girl, delves into the concept of preal bravery, who a true soldier is, the whole uselessness of war and killings, about love and passion and how a true desire finds its way. It ends on a note of hope and the power of true yearning.

I must thank my entire cast – Manveer Singh, Simpy Singh, Nikhil Verma and Shalini Sharma besides my cinematographer Arun K Sharmaa, associate director Gupreet Chahal, editor Sanjeet Gautam, my lyricist Amandeep Singh Paapi and singer and music composer Azaad for doing such a wonderful job!

Of all the three films, this indeed has been my most difficult film to write and shoot and I am so thankful to the Divine that it is being beautifully received.

Q: Is Corona a challenge to the film industry ?.

A: Much as I hate to say this, but I think Corona may not go away in a hurry. It is going to be a challenge for the film industry to be back on its feet. But I can sense that many are already figuring out ways to function and explore their cinematic creativity in this scenario. Recently, there was a brilliant effort by the Hindi film industry – with a made-at-home film titled ‘Family’ with stars like Mr Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Rajnikanth, Diljit Dosanjh, Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra et al. There have been shot a few songs during this quarantine. Now we hear that some of the much-awaited big films are going to be released on the web. So I am sure, the industry will find its way.

As for me, I feel this is an opportunity to sit and write the films waiting to be written. The rest, I guess, has to be left to time. Let’s hope for the best.

(The interviewer has two decades of experience in cultural critique and French language training in India, France and Bangladesh. She gives online tutorials and can be reached at } 
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