Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Fascinated With Satyajit Ray, Christopher Nolan Keen to Learn More About Indian Cinema

Hollywood director Christopher Nolan.

Hollywood director Christopher Nolan hailed legendary Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s work, calling his film Pather Panchali “extraordinary”at an event in Mumbai over the weekend. The director, who has made cult films such as The Dark Knight trilogy, Interstellar, and Dunkirk, also expressed his desire to learn more about Indian cinema, PTI reported.

“I have had the pleasure of watching Mr Ray’s Pather Panchali recently, which I hadn’t seen before. I think it is one of the best films ever made. It is an extraordinary piece of work. I am interested in learning more about Indian film industry and that is the reason why I came,” he was quoted as saying by the agency.

Nolan was speaking at an event called “Reframing Future of Films” in Mumbai, a three-day affair organized from March 30 to April 1 to draw attention to the medium of celluloid in a digital age. Nolan was invited by filmmaker-activist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, the founder of Film Heritage Foundation, alongside noted visual artiste Tacita Dean.

Nolan’s trip to India caused much frenzy, and actors and filmmakers from Hindi and regional film industries, including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Kamal Hassan, met the international celebrity. Shah Rukh Khan posted a picture of the meeting, calling it his “fanboy” moment, while Kamal Hassan expressed surprise that the director had seen one of his films, Paapanaasam.

Dungarpur was happy to get Nolan’s support for the cause. “There was hardly any support from the film industry and people in India. And suddenly you get support from two internationally world-renowned artistes (Nolan and celebrated visual artist Tacita Dean),” PTI quoted him as saying.

Nolan told the media that while he did indeed come to India to back the cause, he also came from a “selfish” point of view. “I wanted to meet Indian filmmakers and learn more about India. I am looking forward to watching more Indian films in future,” he said.

Nolan, who came along with his wife — producer Emma Thomas — and children, also spoke about the importance of analogue film-making in a digital world. His aversion to the digital media is so strong that he doesn’t have a Facebook account. “I don’t have to worry about my Facebook data,” he quipped.

“We may live in a digital age, but we live in an analogue world. One of the things we all love about celluloid film is that it’s a very good analogy for, the way I see it, having a relationship with real life. Digital doesn’t have that. So analogue remains a powerful storytelling tool,” he said, the Times of India reported. He also said that he would find it difficult to go to work “if there wasn’t a camera on set,” much like filmmaker Quentin Tarantino who had once declared that he would not shoot films if he cannot shoot on film.

Nolan and his family also visited New Delhi during their India tour.