When in London promoting his affecting feature film No Fathers in Kashmir, director Ashvin Kumar told us of the myriad of problems he had to face to get this project off the ground and onto our screens. He seemed a little weary, satisfied, but well-spent. So we decided to add more pressure to the poor man, and put him on the spot – as he became the latest, talented filmmaker to take part in our popular ‘My Favourite Movies’ feature series – and his results are below.
What’s the first film you ever fell in love with? Cinema Paradiso. That makes me cry, when he puts on that last reel of stolen kisses, it just kills you.
What’s the one film you never get tired of watching? You want the real answer? Oh gosh. It has to be Star Wars, or something like that. I’ve had a fraught relationship with Star Wars, it was the first film I ever watched, Episode IV. You know the shot when Darth Vader walks into Princess Leia’s spaceship for the first time? I was so afraid, because I’d never seen something called a movie before. This was 1978 in Calcutta, and we were taken to a cinema hall and I’d never seen a movie, I’d never been to a cinema hall, but I was taken there for the first time by my parents, and they decided this would be the coming out experience. Bad idea. The minute Darth Vader came on that screen I ran out of the theatre, I couldn’t take it. But ever since I’ve been a Star Wars fan, a huge one really. At least once a year I watch all three films. Not the new ones, the new ones I don’t really deal with, but those three are fantastic.
What’s your favourite movie soundtrack? Easy Rider. I can listen to those songs again and again. Actually hang on a second, it may be one I keep listening to but I’m not sure it’s a great movie soundtrack. The songs are great. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly rings a bell, by Morricone. If you’re asking me based on whether the soundtrack acts like a whole device in the movie, as far as storytelling is concerned, then 2001 for sure. But Sergio Leone taught us how it could really be amped up. Psycho also has a great soundtrack for instance, but I would say Morricone.
What’s your guilty pleasure? There are so many of them. I’m a big one for those bad-ass action films. Die Hard. Or something like that, something really brainless. Or a Bourne movie.
What’s the one scene that always makes you cry? I get very emotional in films and I do love crying. Making people cry is something that I like to do in my films. I haven’t seen Cinema Paradiso for a long time, but I’ll say the kisses scene in that. Have you seen Where is my Friend’s Home? By Kiarostami. It’s a wonderful film about a boy who forgets his homework and it’s in his other friend’s satchel who lives in another village. It’s a stunning piece of cinema.
What’s your favourite ever coming-of-age story? Stand By Me I think is one. Actually, Boyhood. A beautifully realised film. That one made me cry.