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MIFF Hosts Insightful Session with Emmy Award-Winning Director Richie Mehta

Mumbai: The 18th Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short Fiction, and Animation Films featured an insightful In-Conversation session today with Richie Mehta, the Emmy Award-winning director, creator, and writer renowned for acclaimed series such as ‘Delhi Crime’ and ‘Poacher.’ The session, moderated by internationally acclaimed radio personality Rohini Ramnathan, delved into the intricacies of crime thriller filmmaking.

Richie Mehta shared his profound insights on the craft of filmmaking, emphasizing the timeless importance of a good script and strong acting. “One thing that makes films immortal is a good script and acting. Casting and research are very important,” he stated, underscoring the foundational elements of successful storytelling.

Despite his notable works in the crime genre, Mehta revealed that he is not particularly drawn to it. “I am not interested in telling local stories that can be better told by local filmmakers. What I am interested in are very big stories, stories that get to the heart of what we are capable of as a species,” he said.

He further explained that he uses the crime genre as a vehicle to engage different audiences and address broader, often more complex themes. “Entertainment is the means to an end. It is not the end,” Mehta noted.

Retracing the genesis of his acclaimed crime thriller, Mehta revealed that a crowdsourced footage of an ivory bust collected during his documentary “India in a Day” sparked his interest in the subject of elephant poaching, leading to the creation of ‘Poacher.’

As an NRI filmmaker, Mehta feels a deep sense of responsibility to give back to his homeland. He highlighted the critical role of research in filmmaking, saying, “We get to talk to people and know them, and it is where we learn everything. I was particular about showing things that people don’t get used to seeing. If I personify animals, I can assure you that their reaction towards humans is fear or indifference,” he explained.

The session also touched upon the technical and linguistic challenges of directing a series in multiple languages. “It was an amazing learning experience. I had to make sure that what I have written in English is accurately captured,” Mehta said.

Looking ahead, the filmmaker is embarking on a long-term project researching tigers and big cats. Addressing questions about his writing process, Mehta expressed his preference for individual research over the writers’ room approach, which he finds potentially distracting. “I love the research in writing so much,” he concluded.

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