Shoojit Sircar, director of ‘Sardar Udham’ and the legendary Steven Spielberg recently had a conversation over the latter’s upcoming remake of ‘West Side Story’ based on the 1957 stage musical of same name.
In a video shared by 20th Century Studios India, Shoojit started by reminiscing his memories of ‘West Side Story’ for him it is “nostalgic” as he “performed the play also” in his theatre days. So, while watching Spielberg’s remake, he was “reliving every moment”.
Dousing Shoojit’s curiosity if he has “come full circle as a filmmaker with ‘West Side Story’, touching upon the genre of musical”, Steven said, “Well this genre has been close to my heart all my life. It just took ‘West Side Story’ to do one.”
Spielberg revealed how over the years, he has been accumulating the courage to make something like this, “I’ve been sort of backing my courage, letting every movie I made give me a little more courage until finally I was able to reimagine the work of four geniuses, (Stephen) Sondheim, (Leonard) Bernstein, (Arthur) Laurents and (Jerome) Robbins.”
Revealing the rationale behind a musical bent of mind, Steven said, “My mom was a concert pianist, so I was raised with music ever since I was born.”
Shoojit spoke about how his last film, ‘Sardar Udham’ had the protagonist saying “youth is a gift of God” and how one can “either give it a meaningful purpose and just wither it out”. To this, the ‘Schindler’s List’ director replied by saying, “It’s this generation that is going to determine the fate of all of us. If they can start a conversation with people who are different than they, the xenophobia can be someday in a rear view mirror and not in our present day vernacular.”
“All of that is going to be accomplished by several new generations of young people who really care about each other. If empathy continues to die then everything dies along with it including democracy,” he added.
When Shoojit spoke about every film in India being “more or less musical”, Steven quipped, “It’s very smart, it is selling a story through the fastest way to our hearts, music and dance.
Shoojit opined that every filmmaker aspires to reach a stage where they can dictate things in terms of their conscience about how they want to make a film that can really affect and change the world. “‘A filmmaker’s beautiful world’ where there’s no discrimnation and racism.”
Adding to that Steven said, “I hope I’ve been doing that all my career, I hope I’ve been telling stories that have brought people together of different ideologies.”