Mumbai, Sep 19 (IANS) After 'Tahaan', director Santosh Sivan wants to make another film with a donkey and says the the animal could be seen as more than the stereotypical beast of burden.
'I found my donkey Birbal in 'Tahaan' to be as intelligent as some of my human actors. I want to write a film revolving around him,' Sivan told IANS.
'We refer to people with a dim intellect or to people whom we want to insult as a 'gadhaa' (donkey). But the donkey is an intelligent creature. I think our society and our movies have been terribly unfair to donkeys. While horses, dogs and even snakes are eulogised in our movies, donkeys are always ridiculed,' he added.
'Tahaan' received favourable reviews and Sivan says shooting the film with child artiste Purav Bhandare and the donkey Birbal was a smooth ride.
'Believe me, it wasn't hard directing Purav or the donkey. I don't think we've had a film where a donkey plays a pivotal part. Donkeys have always been the underdogs. People use 'gadhaa' as a derogatory term when they're intelligent creatures. I've directed animals before, a poodle in 'Halo' for example.'
Sivan says getting the donkey was the hard part, and not directing it.
'There're no donkeys in Kashmir except in a village called Sirhome. Once we got this observant donkey, I handed it over to Purav. Children love to shoulder responsibilities and they take them very seriously. Have you seen little girls, how they mother their dolls?'
To Purav, Birbal was his personal project.
'The donkey would react only to Purav's commands. Since that's what the film required, it worked to our advantage.'
'Donkeys have eyesight that sees in a circumference of 360 degrees. I wanted to make Birbal the mute spectator to all that is happening in the valley.'
But Sivan didn't want to make a grim film about militancy.
'I wanted to keep the tone light. That's why even when we hear guns and bomb blasts, the narrative doesn't lose its innocence. The militants are not your typical extremists. The ones you see are ambivalent in personality and motives. I didn't want the story to get heavy-hearted,' said Sivan.