anaji: Filmmaker Shabnam Sukhdev, whose film on the life of her late father and reputed documentary maker S Sukhdev, won critical acclaim, says working on the project was like confronting ghosts from her past.
Sukhdev's documentary 'The Last Adieu' opened the Indian Panorama's non-feature film section during the ongoing IFFI.
"When I took up work on the documentary, it was like confronting ghosts from my past. I said let me make peace with my past. Once I started researching, I realised I have taken on quite a monster," Shabnam said.
"It was not easy to work with the subject on Sukhdev, his filmmaking, his contribution to the documentary filmmaking in India, but I had to catch the bull by its horn, and I think I have done it well," she said.
The 'Khilonewala' helmer who passed away in 1979 is known for his numerous short films in the 60s and 70s.
"Actually, he was absent from my life. Even when he was there, it was every new day. We didn't know what is going to happen when he was in the house. So I was in the awe of him. He was just a character whom we used to see sometimes," she said.
Shabnam remembers her childhood when she used to share a room with her mother, and her father had his own kingdom.
"He had his own little den. There was this red light outside which was practically on, all the times. He used to stay awake all night with his friends and colleagues. Lot of artists used to come to our house. That is the kind of period which I have tried to evoke in the film," she said.
The filmmaker says that her father used to do a lot of audio recording which we today take for granted.
"He had a recorder which was always on when he was with his friends. So if anyone is singing or reciting poetry he used to record... All these things were rotting in my house. My mom had it put away. In the course of getting involved in filmmaking, I started realizing the value of Sukhdev as a filmmaker," she said.
"I started looking at his work at the film institute, where nobody knew that I was his daughter. I was watching his films to learn filmmaking, its aesthetics and craft. He was way ahead of his time in 60s and 70s. What he was making then, I can see filmmakers doing that now," she said.
Shabnam says that when she began researching, a lot of things came out.
"I started respecting him a lot of more... I had to eat this humble pie," she said, adding that her documentary is "that journey where I was very angry with him, didn't wanted to accept him as my father to where I understood him."