Director Abir Sengupta, who believes that humour is a great way to shatter myths and make new inroads into the hearts of the audience, stresses the need of cinema reflecting the present-day society replete with its quarks. Excerpts from a conversation:
‘Indoo ki Jawaani’ is your first Hindi film as a director. How did it happen?
I made my first film in Bangla ‘Jomer Raja Dilo Bor’ in 2015. I am a Bombay guy and have lived here all my life. It took me some time to write the next film, because basically I am a writer. Then I met Monisha and Ryan who are my producers and they really liked the script. Slowly others came on board.
How did you zero in on the lead pair?
I really liked Kiara’s (Advani) work in Dhoni and other films. She seemed right for the role because I needed the lead to look really pretty and have a girl-next-door vibe. She is one of those few people who can pull off both.
Aditya (Seal) on the other hand gave an extremely good audition. I was there throughout the auditions and had already met a lot of other people for the role. When I met Aditya and interacted with him after the audition, I was quite sure he would fit the role perfectly.
The trailer suggests the film is about people you meet on dating apps…
Dating apps are a way of life now. I have personally seen so many people meet and get into long term relationships via dating apps. I have friends who have found life partners on dating apps and eventually got married to each other! This is life, sometimes you do get lucky! At times not! But I feel dating apps are a good way to explore new horizons.
I strongly feel that cinema is a representation of society. I am a huge fan of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee films, and those films were made that way because people in that era lived led that kind of a lifestyle in general. I remember one particular sequence in Chupke Chupke where a trunk call was shot for over two whole minutes because that is how it actually happened. The call was transferred from one person to another till you could finally hear the voice of the person you wanted to talk to.
Also, the Pakistan stereotype that you seem to have taken by the horns in the film…
I don’t believe in god I believe in love. In my life I have seen a lot of people who judge a book by its cover and I don’t think that is the way we need to live anymore. That is what I have tried to emphasise in the film through humour. And it is not just about Pakistan, I mean generally also when we meet people, we always tend to judge them!
How did the lockdown affect your film?
We finished the shooting before the lockdown. But the post production and the editing was affected in a big way. But as a director I did want to sit with my team in the editing studio and discuss and jam… so that is something I missed out on for my first Hindi film. But the movie business is huge and I am sure that things will return to theatres to watch films on a big screen. However, we will eventually have an OTT release and a satellite release after it has run its time in theatres.