With the resume of having directed hundreds of Ad films, making his feature film debut with an award winning feature film, Yahaan (Indian Competition Special Jury Award at Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema, 2005) and finally hitting success with the sleeper hit Vicky Donor (2012), Shoojit Sircar can finally say that he has arrived. After watching the trailer of Madras Cafe which will hit the big screen next month, one can convincingly say his arrival is for the greater good of Hindi movies
Shoojit belongs to those breed of directors who are not only concerned with entertainment but also conscientious of treating their work as an important step towards meaningful and quality cinema. The kind which earns respect. And perhaps this was precisely the reason that everyone who saw Yahaan (2005) 8 years back would have realized that the movie as a credible effort in that direction; setting up a plaform for the later works of Shoojit. His expertise and acute understanding of the technical aspects of filmmaking reflected in Vicky Donor (2012). The movie seamlessly blended entertainment with a worthy message & enlisted itself in the rare category of those few movies that have managed to achieve that. Talking to him over his latest project which stars John Abraham as an intelligence agent, it comes off that this movie is a significant effort to go international in terms of cinematic parameters and the production value of the film. Madras Cafe looks like a movie which touches many genres at the same time and consistently refuses to get labelled under any single genre. It appears as a war movie, an espionage film and a thriller altogether. Perhaps there are some movies whose value lies in the fact that the subject material and the treatment constantly overlaps among many genres and finally comes out as an exemplified piece of work.
Shoojit makes a point that while making this movie he was extremely aware of the cinematic legacy of seminal films and referenced important world cinema classics such as Platoon (1986) and the The Killing Fields (1984) whose influnece might be felt in the movie. Discussing further about Madras Cafe, he said that indeed the issues are sensitive (Civil War and Terrorism), hence the story needed solid research for the sake of a complete, taut script and also emphasized that the whole production team has kept the bar high. The production quality of Madras Cafe is certainly at par with the production quality of movies coming out of foreign land.
Coming from the rich Bengali tradition of arts and culture, he mentioned the legendary Satyajit Ray as his idol and said that he keeps visiting the movies of Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and other stalwarts of Indian cinema for the much needed inspiration. This aspect is mayhap remarkable about his approach and way of making films; drawing upon solid film education, he takes inspiration from both Indian and world cinema and then tries to infuse it with his own individual sensibilities of the craft. It is no surprise then that this ability of his is responsibile for placing him among the ranks of important contemporary Indian filmmakers.