M Cream, a story of four friends, explores what it means to be a young person living in India today. Through their journey from Delhi to Himachal Pradesh in search of M Cream, a form of marijuana, it raises several socio-political issues. The film has won 10 awards at various International and Indian film festivals. City Express catches up for a quick chat with the director Agneya Singh and associate director Aban Raza.
About the film...
It is a philosophical and poetic film. We have explored many issues subtly. The new generation is expected to inherit the world we don’t agree with. An example would the nexus between the politics and corporate, the nexus between religion and politics, the deadly mix of the two and how that is also been used to divide the people. It also analyses the interplay between apathy and activism and conformity and rebellion, which are the two striking features of the young people, particularly in India today.
Do you fear that the people might compare the film with Udta Punjab?
The films are very different. Udta has bigger stars and has a mainstream production. In a way, it is a blessing in disguise for us because they have got these issues into the public limelight. The drugs they are dealing with, is of course bad for you. There is plenty of medical evidence that heroin and cocaine are bad. In our case, we are taking a drug which is controversial. If alcohol and cigarettes are legal, it doesn’t make sense if a drug like marijuana, safer than both of these, is illegal.
Marijuana was used in Indian culture for many years. It was legal in India. Due to UN treaty, it has been put in the same category of other drugs. And now, when there is a medical evidence on the therapeutic benefits of marijuana and the US has taken steps to decriminalise it, it shows that it is also time for India to take a step on it. Lot of young people are using this drug. The film is not pro-drugs or anti-drugs. It just presents reality as is. I hope the film opens up a debate.
Why the road-trip genre?
It is interesting and exciting. It is something young people will immediately identify with. Lot of my friends in Bengaluru have gone to Kodaikanal and tried the magic mushrooms. They said I should make a film on it as well. Lot of young people seem to be doing these crazy road trips. Also, as a filmmaker, it gives you space and lot of things to explore. Visually, you see lots of sites. It is always on move.
Was shooting tough?
Yes, of course. You are shooting in lots of places which are hard to access. People had to literally pull the equipments up and down the mountains and carry them on their shoulders because there was no path for cars, in Parvati Valley and Kulu Valley. It was cold too.
Do you follow Bollywood films?
Yes. I feel even in Bollywood, lot of interesting work is being done. The scripts are very challenging, edgy and radical. The line between mainstream Bollywood and independent cinema is starting to blur which I think is good. In the next few years, we can push the limits a bit more and come up with a language of Indian cinema which is unique and powerful.
Catch a show of the film M Cream on July 22.