Elizabeth's journey battles between divinity and mortality: Shekhar

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Antalya, Turkey, Oct 28 (UNI) Renowned filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, whose film 'Elizabeth: the Golden Age' was the closing film of the Third International Eurasia Film Festival which concludes today, said his film 'Once again the story of Elizabeth's journey' is the battle between divinity and mortality.

The earlier film on Elizabeth had ended with the Queen declaring she was the Virgin Queen, much like Virgin Mary. This film takes that idea forward with the Queen still insisting she is a Virgin, but unable to ignore the needs of her body. In a sense, he said, the characters of Elizabeth and Bess (whom Sir Walter Raleigh married) are the same in that the first represents the body and the second the spirit.

Raleigh showed Elizabeth the dangers of mortal behaviour.

''All of us have a male and a female energy and often these are at conflict. Male energy is singular while female energy is like water which swallows and dissolves everything.'' He added that humans crucify anyone who is divine, because they cananot accept humans becoming Gods.

In a brief interview to UNI, Shekhar denied that both the films on Elizabeth were history and said they were really his interpretations of the character who said she was immortal but always had a conflict with her mortality. He also denied that it was a period-sensitive film, adding that the period must represent the story being told.

This film is about the moral contradictions of the main character, he explained.

Asked why he always made female-oriented films, he quipped: ''May be it is my guilt, since I belong to the male-dominated Punjab'', saying he also wanted to show that in the case of the woman, the spirit is stronger than the mind and the body.

He admitted that he had never met Phoolan Devi when he decided to make a film on her, 'The Bandit Queen', and he had simply shut himself in a room for several hours and tried to imagine the state of mind of the the bandit queen.

Shekhar revealed that his next film is likely to be a third part of the Elizabeth story. He recalled reading that when Elizabeth came to know she was dying, she stood for almost twelve hours not lying down because fearing she would die if she did.

He noted that Kate Blanchett who had played the title role did her own research and was very meticulous. She had therefore been very angry when he had once after completing the day's shoot asked her to come before the camera and say anything. He said the anger and frustration she showed before the camera, which formed part of his first film, was really her anger with him, and she had not talked to him for two days thereafter.

Shekhar had not been able to make the much-touted film on South African patriarch Nelson Mandela because he saw the man as a failure. He had failed as a father, a husband, and a son and had paid a heavy price in his fight against apartheid. This was something people were not prepared to accept and so he could not make that film.

He said his latest film had been budgeted at 55 million dollars.

It had been originally budgeted for 83 million dollars but he had cut short the script to reduce the budget. The first version of Elizabeth had in comparison cost 24 million dollars, he said, adding that before that film, he had never spent even a million dollar for a film in India.

Referring to the special effects, he said that the entire Spanish Armada sequence had been shot with just one sailing ship, which looked British from one side and Spanish from the other and he could shoot from three sides only. ''But filmmakers want their special effects to be real. I wanted them to be like a painting,'' he noted.

He had used classical music like Mozart's Requiem and shot the film to that. This is because dialogue says too much, and it is the music which makes you interpret and question.

When asked about the prospect of an Oscar, he said it was the ultimate achievement. But it was said that 85 per cent of the world's cinema was not even shown in America and so the rest of the world should re-evaluate what the Oscar stood for.

Referring to the concept of this festival, he said it was interesting that Turkey stood between Asia and Europe and it was good that it was giving more voice to Asia, since ''I do not think the west understands the east and sees it as a chaos. But in Asia, we want to reach out,'' he added.


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