Proud of sticking to my conviction, says Nagesh Kukunoor

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Mumbai: Filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor is proud that in his journey of more than 20 years, he has stuck to his movie making conviction, never succumbing to mainstream pressure.

Nagesh made his directorial debut in 1998 with “Hyderabad Blues” and has since helmed critically acclaimed films like “Rockford”, “Dor”, “Iqbal” and “Dhanak”.

The director-actor describes his journey as a a good run with “superb high and god-awful lows.”

“To be around for 22 years isn’t a big deal. There are lots of directors like that. But if I am still doing my own thing after all these years, it shows my conviction is intact. I can take that to my grave happily.”

In an interview with PTI, the director says it isn’t that his struggle to tell the stories he believes in has reduced.

“It is always going to be difficult if you don’t play the game and cast the stars. But it is a path that I have chosen. So I don’t say this with any bitterness.”

The 52-year-old director says if one “wants to play the mainstream game” then one must work with the stars.

“But a lot of my films don’t fit in that universe, so I don’t worry about it. But finding the right resources and money will be tricky when you tell stories that are away from the mainstream narrative.”

He has currently helmed the latest Hotstar Special, “City of Dreams”. The Mumbai-set political drama, presented by Applause Entertainment, features Sachin Pilgaonkar, Priya Bapat, Eijaz Khan and Siddharth Chandekar among others.

For the director, venturing into the digital space with a 10-episode was a challenge.

“The sheer scale of it was overwhelming. Unlike a 90-100 minute feature film, a web series has 400 minutes, at the very least. The scale is just astronomical.”

When he set out to write the series, along with his co-writer Rohit Banawalikar over a period of four and a half months, Nagesh knew he had to touch upon more than just politics.

“There are lots of good political dramas out there and so I wanted this one to be a bit more. I wanted it to be about the city, using one genre to highlight. So I used a political family as crux of the story.

“When Rohit and I sat down to write it, we were very clear that it is a show about the city and started ideating stories that actually make up the city.

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