Sai Deodhar, who has impressed the audiences with her acting prowess for about two decades with soaps like Ek Ladki Anjaani Si (2005) and Reth (2004-2006) took to directing short films such as Sholey Girl, D.A.T.E., Silent – Ties, Blood Relation and Fathers Day To You, that bagged her several national and international awards. Taking a step further, Sai has fully forayed into digital space with her production company Purple Morning Movies. When A Man Loves A Woman, starring Barun Sobti and Girija Oak Godbole, is her first film under this banner and her second, Badhai Ho stars veteran actress Renuka Shahane. In a conversation with the Cinema Journal Sai spoke about her production house, and how she transitioned from being an actor to director. Excerpts from the interview:
What prompted you to launch your own production company?
I am an actor by default. I always had the zeal of a filmmaker, and wanted to direct and produce films. I have been occasionally making short films for the past few years, but finally, I set my foot into it wholeheartedly. I set up my production house. Since digital is the way forward, I thought we must have a leg in digital space and one on television.
How did you make the transition from acting, writing to direction?
I feel they all are connected. I always write a very detailed script. Hailing from a technical background, I am qualified in the technical aspects of filmmaking. I direct my cameraman as to what lens I want to use and how my frame should look like. I love cinema, it’s my first love and I admire every bit about its making. Cinema is like a mother to me.
Do you think recognition as an actor has made your entry into direction easier?
It definitely helps. People in the industry and audience connect to you on a different level. There was a time when actors were solely acting and directors were just directing. However, that has changed now. Everyone is multitasking in the current scenario. It’s a beautiful space to be and you can try different things. I have been doing TV for so many years and I realised that I was not offering anything new to my craft. So, I thought it was time to do things that push my limits.
What kind of content do you intend to produce?
As a scriptwriter, my biggest strength has been to write about relationships. I think I have experienced relationships, lived and understood them closely. I believe if you write personal experiences, you bring honesty to the story and characters in it. We will do short films, music videos, and later web series. However, they will all be based on or will revolve around ‘relationships’.
How was your experience of working with Renuka Shahane in Badhai Ho?
Renuka tai and my relation goes back long. She has worked with my father [Debu Deodhar] and she has seen me grow up. She is a dream and delight for any director. Her presence adds a lot of value to the project. She never crosses her line as an actor and there is a lot to learn from her. Her suggestions have always proven to be magical.
Do you think training is important to be a director or an actor?
It really helps if you are qualified because you then are aware of the basics and the fundamentals are clear. Also, when you assist people, you learn. Everyone needs to be trained to be a part of a film. It is important to learn your craft otherwise you can’t command and then it becomes someone else’s vision and not yours.