Salvation after sins
His reputation might have preceded him at the box office. But Vinod Pande is confident "Sins" will pay off.
HIS VOICE chokes over phone. It was a long day for director Vinod Pande - no not on the sets but in the Mumbai High Court. It was a day when his faith in the rule of law was reaffirmed when the court cleared his film Sins after the Catholic Secular Forum filed a public interest litigation to stall its release. "The court deliberated on the issue for two-and-a-half hours before deciding in our favour. One feels much better because few people try to make films beyond commercial considerations and when one does his efforts should not be spiked. I have never said that mine is the greatest film but a film made with sincerity and integrity. And let the viewer judge the product."
Based on the true story of a Christian priest who has relationship with a young girl, Vinod argues it is about human conscience and forbidden love. It does not show a community or religion in bad light. "It captures a situation which could happen in anybody's life and the honourable court has noted this point. Anybody could commit a folly. The idea of the film germinated in 1988 when I came across a news story about a Kerala priest sentenced to death on sexual harassment and murder charges."
Ironically, Vinod didn't face much of a problem with the Central Board of Film Certification. "I made the film is English because I knew it is a bold and sensitive subject with some provocative scenes. So people might misunderstand the point. Then I asked for an adult certificate. The Censor Board still asked for certain cuts. I agreed to some but a few were indispensable so I went to the Censor Appellate Tribunal and they were cleared."
Vinod takes umbrage on the charge of appeasement - one of those filmmakers who heap celluloid negativity on characters of minority community. He retorts when the idea of Sins was taking root in his mind he made tele-serial Reporter where he showed corruption in a mutt in several episodes.
Known for tackling the subject of forbidden love with a degree of sensibility, Vinod has given films like Ek Baar Phir, Yeh Nazdikiyan and Sach. Vinod agrees part of the reason is his personal experience. "Whenever a creative person writes something be it a poem or a script it is a combination of his within and without."
His cast has always included new names, it is another matter they became a Deepti Naval, Suresh Oberoi or Marc Zuber later. With Sins, it is Shiny Ahuja and debutante Seema Rehmani waiting to shine. "Seema is an Indian girl who has spent 10 years in Los Angeles. She has given a fabulous performance in a bold role refused by two girls after they had accepted the signing amount."
The new cast, however, has given Vinod some bitter experience with media. "Media has shown a condescending approach. If there is a star or big director they go head-over-heels to cover them but in this case they came to the conclusion that Vinod is making a sleaze film and clubbed it with sex films without understanding the concept. I believe in films and politics anybody can bounce back any time." Let's see.
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