Pallavi Joshi won the National Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Tashkent Files while the director of the film, who also happens to be her husband, Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, won the National Film Award for Dialogue writing. It is rare that a couple has won the same award in different categories in the same year, especially the National Award. Amid celebrations, we caught up with the talented duo for a quick tête-à-tête. Excerpts:
While every national award is special, this one might be more so with both of you winning.
Agnihotri: Yes, in fact, there is this guy we know who is like an encyclopedia of Indian cinema, he mentioned that we might be the only couple ever to have won for the same film, same year and all.
Joshi: You know the funniest thing; I didn’t realise I could be winning at all. You see, I am also the producer of the film. When the awards were to be announced, I was hoping I would hear one of the actors’ names or maybe that of one of the technicians. I was so surprised to hear my name, I had forgotten I was also an actor in the film! It took me a few seconds to start screaming with joy.
Critics weren’t really appreciative of the film…
Agnihotri: I have never let critics bring me down. The fact is that my film is an official case-study at IIM-Ahmedabad and that is more appreciation than I would have ever expected. I am happy with that.
Joshi: We don’t keep any grudges. After all we are all a part of the same fraternity. The only thing I would like to tell the critic- brethren is that one can give opinions and be polite at the same time. One must not try to pull another down with such vengeance that it seems rude.
Listening to the both of you, it feels like one can complete the other’s statement!
Joshi: I guess that happens with being married forever. Getting married to a man from the same industry is one of the best things I did. We have a certain kind of understanding. We know that we have unpredictable timings, we need to have our creative space and thus far. It might have not been the same if I married a doctor or an engineer. My understanding of their professional requirements, their understanding of mine would never have gelled. This is what I feel, it is a personal thought… one I feel strongly about.
But with great tuning there might be a scarcity of new ideas and thoughts….
Agnihotri: That’s your assumption. Pallavi and I are married but we are still very individualistic. We don’t agree on all things. The whole thing the new generation has to understand is that people are not exactly gauged by reading their tweets. You might know my take on something, but you might not know me.
Joshi: Though, in a way what you are saying is actually correct. Broadly we always discuss subjects that interest us, which might be different if we were from different fraternities. Our exposure is with similar topics and such! Like everything, this too has pros and cons.
Now that we have discussed the cons, what are the pros?
Joshi: Knowing all the gossip (laughs)! Jokes apart, working together is so much more fun when it is Vivek who is directing me. So many times, I understand what’s needed even without him saying anything. He is truly the best one to remove work from me because he knows me better than anyone else.
Tell us a little about your next project:
Agnihotri: We are already set with ‘The Kashmir Files’. The film talks about the unsaid problems in Kashmir. The film is a part of my ambitious trilogy, which in a way will be a new wave in Indian cinema.
Joshi: It’s lovely to be a part of this vision of his, collaborating in the work space is really special.