Junoon starts off Mumbai Local with a discussion on cinema with Rajat Kapoor
‘What is the city but the people’ said Shakespeare in Corialanus and if we take a step back and look around us, we know at that very moment how true the words of legendary playwright are. What could be better if both the city and its people come together to create a place full of vibrance and joy! The good news is that Mumbai Local, a community arts initiative by Junoon has flagged off its first episode by holding a discussion with Rajat Kapoor, an eminent theatre and film personality. Junoon is sincerely taking the plunge to create an energized environment by slowly and steadily building generous and inclusive communities of people around Mumbai. One of the main objectives of Mumbai Local is to make the experience of arts a part of our daily lives, so that it benefits us both ways; by helping us to broaden our vision and simultaneously cultivating an enriched platform for open-ended discussions and learnings. The program invites eminent scientists and artists to speak about their crafts along with the interesting stories of their journeys and achievements. Anybody who has a hunger for learning, and can’t ask for more as listening to them is sure going to help them in finding their own insights of life. This Saturday, the program took off with its first event, ‘The Joys of Cinema – Long Take’. Bheja Fry and Mithya-fame filmmaker Rajat Kapoor, came to interact with the audience gathered in the Mcubed library, Bandra and it was quite a crowd who gathered to hear this talented actor and filmmaker speak. 

Rajat Kapoor is an FTII alumnus who fell in love with cinema early in his childhood and dreamt of making films. His passion led him to secure admission in FTII, post which he came to Mumbai to assist veteran filmmaker Mani Kaul. He further spoke about not getting much work in Mumbai in the early days but how his passion helped him in sailing through the rough phase of his life where he was trying to make it in movies. Amidst all difficulties, he made National award-winning short movies, Tarana and Hypnothes. His full-length directorial debut was Private Detective: Two Plus Two Plus One in 1997 which had Irrfan Khan and Naseeruddin Shah in the lead roles. The eminent filmmaker talked about the various aspects of cinema and theatre in his usual style, often referring to himself as the reluctant actor, which the audience laughed at dismissively. He also showed the video clips from some of the seminal films of world cinema like A Band Apart (Jean Luc Godard), GoodFellas (Martin Scorsese) and Touch of Evil (Orson Welles) to elucidate a few points about the craft of cinema. Really an enlightening experience to witness him talking about the movies and it was a little difficult to believe that he had to actually email his friends for the request of money which got him a National Award for the best feature film in Hindi, Raghu Romeo (2003).
After that, he made quite a few films like Mixed Doubles (2006) which dealt with the swinging culture in Mumbai and Mithya (2008) which was a kind of underworld comedy. The audience present at the venue asked the director various questions related to his work and cinema in general. Many of them wanted to know how he approached his work and from where he finds his inspiration to make such acclaimed films. Some of them also enquired about the present and the future of cinema and wanted to know his views. He replied to every question with much clarity and understanding which only made it more apparent why he is such a good filmmaker. At the end, when The Joys of Cinema got over, everybody clapped and left the place with elated spirit as everybody who attended the event must have taken some valuable learnings and inspiration on their way back home.

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