Ashim Ahluwalia's "Miss Lovely" attracted a rush at the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) here Saturday. The filmmaker was ecstatic at the response as he says local audiences are more important for him than getting eyeballs at international fests such as Cannes.
His movie explores the world of sleazy C-grade Indian movies, and it was screened here Saturday noon. A repeat screening will take place Sunday.
"It would have been nice to have more and larger screens, and a larger space, because it feels bad to have people not get in and be upset and angry. In a way, it's very flattering! I love it that people are fighting to see my film," Ahluwalia told IANS.
"Miss Lovely", which showcases the underbelly of the country's sex and horror films of the 1980s, was screened as part of the Un Certain Regard section at the 65th Cannes International Film Festival. But he is "really happy" that his movie got a screening at MFF, which is organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) and presented by Reliance Entertainment.
"It's here for the Mumbai people to watch. It's my city and this audience is more important for me than (the ones in) Cannes. Cannes is fine from a career point of view, but these are like my people," said the filmmaker.
Ahluwalia was present with the star cast of his film - Niharika Singh and Anil George, to address the press post the movie's screening.
He says considering the movie's sensitive subject, he wanted to make it with full freedom.
"The intention was to make the kind of film that I want to make. I want a lot of freedom with my film. And if you want a lot of freedom, then commercially it becomes difficult.
"I wanted to make a film that was globally interesting and not just for specifically local Indian film audience, but a film that anybody who loves cinema would watch across the world. I don't think about films as a national thing," he said.
He says he doesn't even mull over a commercial release for his movie.
"It's not my job to do that. Beyond a point, if I start thinking about commercial release, I will never make more films. At some point, I have to say this is what I have made and Iet distributors take over it and see what they can do commercially," he added.