“We should not restrict our audience to India and Indians. Indian films should be for the world," says the director. (Agencies)
"We have a wealth of stories," Batra said.
On the controversy over "The Lunchbox" being snubbed in favour of Gujarati film "The Good Road" as India's official entry for the Academy Awards in Best Foreign Film Category, Batra said, "I think the process needs to be improved. It needs to be more in with the World's. In Spain and Chile, for example, it is their academies that make decisions that are good for the cinema of the country because it is the country that gets the Oscar not the filmmaker or the film.”
Batra does not consider "The Lunchbox" an Indie film as it is an India-US-France-Germany co-production.
"I think in India a film without songs is called an Indie film," he quipped.
"I don't know if there is a formula for the success of a film like his. But if there is, I would like to know it,” he said.
Batra agrees that the rise of multiplexes in India has been good for independent filmmakers.
"The Lunchbox was very successful, I think, because of that. It played in India for several weeks. So I think it's very good of course,” he said.
Batra, who grew up in Mumbai, lives in New York City and is married to a Mexican. He believes that this ‘multiple existence’ obviously shapes his instinct in some way.
“I think for me to analyse myself is very difficult because everything comes from a personal place of instinct," he said.
Batra said he was open to doing commercial Bollywood-Hollywood cinema.
"Sure. It's hard to anticipate. It depends on a story finds you as much as you find the story. If it's something I can take it and make my own, I will do it. Both the characters in 'The Lunchbox' to some degree reflect a part of me ," he said.
"I wrote it when I was away from India from the point of view of nostalgia,” he added.
There is a lot of nostalgia in the characters from India.
Balancing his life as a new father and as a husband while his wife was expecting during the making of the film was ‘very difficult honestly with the travel and trying to write’, Batra said.
Batra, who divides his time between Mumbai and New York, does not consider himself either an Indian filmmaker or an American one.
"I consider myself a filmmaker," he said.
"The stories just find you and it does not matter where they are set. If you can bring something to them then they are yours,” said Batra.
“We should not restrict our audience to India and Indians. Indian films should be for the world," says the director.