Guneet Monga

I wanted to work in Hindi films. But working on a variety of European and American projects had taught me a lot about work culture. Das Vidanya took me to Russia to do a lot of reconnaissance, but we ended up shooting in Bangkok. I think it was the 1st of May, and that was their big labour day. We could not shoot in Russia.

The film festivals, from Venice to Cannes, have a huge impact on Indian films. And that’s kind of putting us on the map. You know that is a discovery point. Ki hum jo bhi kaam karte hain, woh credibility bohot humein Venice aur Cannes se mili hain…  I think the impact of Europe on us is, of course, discovery and announcement to the world, because I think what Cannes has meant—I mean, I feel emotionally that everything big is being taken over by America. Anyone who wins an Oscar moves to America. Even European filmmakers.

I won a scholarship to go to Rotterdam. And that was a programme during the Rotterdam Film Festival. It was a workshop with 60 filmmakers. Young, first-time filmmakers, learning the business in Europe.

The director Amit Kumar won a grant for his film Bypass from the BFI, UK, that was going to fund Monsoon Shootout fully. And Artè from France was also interested in pre-purchasing the TV rights.

In 1985, India and France signed a treaty (a co-production agreement that allows the European Union to fund Indian content). And I was the first one to use it in 2012 for Lunchbox. And then I was able to use it again in 2013 for Masaan.

Lunchbox is an Indo-German-French coproduction with an American executive producer. It was pretty global. And it had Sundance as our mentor. We had gone to the Torino Film Lab, which is Italian. Torino had mentored the film. That was also a grant that we won. We won a grant at Cinemart, which is in Rotterdam, which was an award from Arte, and we had Arte on board.

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