At a time when the pressure to be politically correct is more acute than ever, The Family Man creators Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK talk about how they handle tough themes in their films and shows with a sensitive touch in an exclusive session for FC Front Row.
Krishna DK: Not offending anyone is tough. Political correctness and not offending anyone are two different thing. Political correctness is actually a good thing, and should be considered. We cannot be offensive. Offending somebody has so many shades now right now. You could do everything right and still offend people. That’s a choice you have to make. You have to have your ideals right, your sensibilities right, and you’ll still end up offending a lot of people, or some people. I guess you have to be careful.
Raj Nidimoru: It’s not easy. We are in a different, strange times. I think every filmmaker feels like this. If it comes from a place of honesty, if you don’t have an agenda of: I want to make this point somehow then it comes more naturally, more honestly. Even people who would have been offended might also be okay with it because it’s coming from a place of truth, honesty and even love. Like if you love your character, you treat him with care even if he is a bad guy. So I think if there is some integrity and it comes across, people might go from: Oh my God, what did he do? to Should I be offended? He seems like a nice guy. There is some honesty in this.
As filmmakers in India, we are such a varied bunch, we come from so many varied backgrounds that you realize how things affect people. You might sit in Mumbai and think that something is nice, but when you interact with a person from your hometown, you realise that they’ve taken away something completely different from a film that you made. And you realize: Oh my god that’s not what I intended to say. So you do realize that people vary and they’re not always watching the same things that you’re watching. You can’t please everybody of course but the things that that get picked up on are the things that you wanted to make statements about You need to think before making a statement. We always act like observers. We’re like, ‘Here you go, now you decide what you want to think about.’ We do that instead of spelling out, ‘Here, feel bad for this guy. Feel good for this guy.’ As long as you have objectivity in your script, then you’re honest. You will know you did things the right way.
I have a certain responsibility as a filmmaker. I can put in a lot of stuff (into our films). I can put also put it in in such a way that you won’t even realize what I’m feeding you. The big debate is a sense of responsibility versus creative freedom. I think you can put out something very, very sensitive, but you have to have the craft to make a good piece of cinema first. Then if you want to say something, sure. Being subversive is a better way of doing it. Genres give you a lot of good vehicles to put something in. Stree gave us good opportunity to do something like that. The feminist themes don’t overtly hit you. It is a hilarious film, but it has something underneath.