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Nandita DasNandita Das directorial debut set for October release
16th July 2008  09.00 IST
By Agencies  

Nandita Das , known for her power-packed performances in films like 1947: Earth and 'Fire', is now ready with her directorial debut Firaaq , based on the infamous 2002 Gujarat riots.

Slated for release in October, the film deals with the trauma of violence on human relationships after the riots. "Firaaq deals with fear and prejudice that has entered into our mind. 'Firaaq' is an Urdu word that means both separation and quest. I want to raise certain questions through this film. Some of them do not have easy answers," the actress said.

Nandita hopes that her directorial debut, which narrates stories of five different people, will touch a chord with all generations. She, however, is bothered by the perceptions that good films are only meant for critical acclaim, film festivals and not for box office success.

"My film doesn't come under any label. It is a very strong, emotional story, which I wanted to tell for a long time. Labels affect our thoughts and create pre-conceived notions about a subject. That's what I do not want for my film," she said when asked whether the film will find success with regular Bollywood crowd.

"Why make such categories? I want students, office goers, workers, and people from every strata of society to watch 'Firaaq,'" she adds.

Actors like Naseeruddin Shah , Paresh Rawal , Deepti Naval , Raghuvir Yadav and Sanjay Suri will be seen in lead roles in the film.

When asked about the sudden shift from acting to direction, Nandita says the desire was always at the back of her mind but she never thought that direction would happen so soon.

"While working for human rights, I found so many stories. I felt that they should be told and that's what made me a director. Is there any stronger medium than cinema?" she quips.

"There are five different stories. Some of them intercept each other while others run parallel in the film," she says.

On working with Naseeruddin Shah, the actress says, "It was great. After the shooting was over, he sent me an SMS saying 'Mighty pleased with your clear and precise instructions'. It is a huge compliment for me."

For Nandita, donning a cap of director was not easy because she had to look at the every aspect of the film.

"Half of my job was done by a wonderful team. But the advantage I think which I had as an actor is that I was able to convey my ideas in a better form. Many times directors conceptualize a certain scene but they are not able to convey their vision to the actors," says Nandita.

"As an actor we are free to interpret our roles but as a director you have to look at the every aspect of the film. You want all the parts to fit in properly in the narrative," she says.

Nandita also works as a social activist and believes that cinema is a strong medium to start a healthy debate on socially relevant issues.

The actress has vowed to take the film to schools and colleges. "I think a film is a trigger to start a conversation on a point. I think the film is a trigger to start a conversation and this story is straight out of my heart. As a director I had the freedom to tell my story the way I wanted to tell it and now I will take it to as many people as I can." she says.

Nandita's first cross border film 'Ramchand Pakistani' directed by Pakistani director Mahreen Jabbar was premiered at the ongoing 10th Osian's Film Festival in Delhi.

Nandita is already reading scripts and hopes to start acting by October. The actress has also worked in Santosh Siwan's film 'Before the Rains' with Rahul Bose .

The actress who has played so many roles in different films doesn't have any favourites so far. "My favourite role is yet to come because an artist is never satisfied."

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1947: Earth
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