We have a wealth of stories to tell: Ritesh Batra

‘We should not restrict our audience to India and Indians. Indian films should be for the world,’ says the director of what critics in his words have called ‘an Indian story with a universal heart.’

‘We have a wealth of stories,’ Batra said in a phone interview ahead of the film’s release in New York and Los Angeles on Friday clarifying reported remarks that the audience for off-Bollywood or indie films from India is abroad.

On the controversy over The Lunchbox being snubbed in favour of Gujarati film The Good Road as India’s official entry for the Academy Awards in Best Foreign Film Category, Batra said: ‘I think the process needs to be improved. It needs to be more in with the World’s.’

In Spain and Chile, for example, it’s their academies that ‘make decisions that are good for the cinema of the country because it’s the country that gets the Oscar not the filmmaker or the film.’
Batra does not consider The Lunchbox an indie film as it is an India-US-France-Germany co-production.

‘I think in India a film without songs is called an indie film,’ he quipped. ‘I don’t know if there is a formula’ for the success of a film like his. ‘But if there is, I would like to know it.’

He agrees that the rise of multiplexes in India has been good for independent filmmakers.
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