Dakxin Chhara, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, playwright and activist makes his debut as a feature film director with this week’s release ‘Sameer’. In this interview, he talks about the film, importance of freedom in art, standing up for social issues and the relationship between perception, violence and economy.
You had stated in an interview that ‘Sameer’ talks about the politics of perception, violence and economy. Can you elaborate on it?
All of us are victims of some kind of a perception. Perceptions are deliberately created in the common citizen’s mind. That, in turn, leads to violence in the society. Any kind of perception that is wrong must be broken because perception and violence are strongly connected to each other. For example, if people of a certain community are considered to be untouchables, the same community revolts after a point of time. That results in violence. If we treat everybody equally without any bias or discrimination, there would be no mayhem in the society. The community I belong to, is considered to be filled with backward people and criminals. But, the truth is that so many lawyers, doctors and other professionals from that community have made a name for themselves on a national and global platform. But, even today, there is a stigma attached to that community because of the perception that has been fed into people’s mind for decades. Violence also has a strong link with the economy which most people fail to see. If you Google ‘what is the relationship between violence and economy’, you will come across some well-researched articles from renowned universities like Cambridge and Oxford that will give you a good insight on the same. You will realize whenever there is a recession in any part of the world, there is an increase in the number of violent activities or terrorist attacks.
How did you think of casting Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub for the title role?
Zeeshan is a very good friend of mine. We have known each other for several years. We have even co-directed a play together. Our socio-political ideologies are quite the same and we have similar views on different issues pertaining to the country. I have been a documentary filmmaker for several years. So, I am very fond of realistic cinema and realistic performances. Zeeshan is a brilliant actor and all his performances have been very realistic. When I discussed the subject of the film with, he loved it and immediately agreed to come on board for the film.
The film is based on a real incident. How did the idea come to you?
Whenever a violent activity or a terrorist attack takes place, innocents die. In the 2008 terrorist attack in Gujarat, several children died. The terrorists and politicians play their own games but it results in the oblivion of innocence and empathy from the society. A society which lacks empathy towards humanity is not an ideal society. I thought it was very important to talk about this issue and hence, I made this film.