Last month’s Chicago South Asian Film Festival featured a press brunch for the attending filmmakers and members of the media. It offered a great opportunity to speak with filmmakers and hear them describe their projects in their own words. Here are some of the highlights:
Producer-actor Trupti Bhoir explained how her own experiences led her to create the Marathi film Touring Talkies, a movie about a female operator of a mobile movie truck (the kind depicted in the great Hindi film Road, Movie). At the start of her career as an independent filmmaker, Bhoir herself toured villages with a mobile movie theater to showcase her projects. In order to boost slow ticket sales, Bhoir would don her tightest sari and put on some bright red lipstick. She broke down in tears as she described standing in front of a tent full of men to present her film, only to realize that the audience wasn’t there for the movie: “There were there to see me.”
Director Sanjay Tripathy spoke of the fun had on-set by the veteran cast of Club 60, a movie inspired by the colorful members of the tennis club Tripathy belongs to in Mumbai. One crew member had the dubious honor of providing the cues for the movie’s many fart jokes.
Director Meera Menon mentioned a similar experience during the making of her film, the road-trip flick Farah Goes Bang: “We had some fart gags in the film, but none of them were faked.” The very funny Menon explained some of the challenges of making a female-centric sex comedy: “We initially thought we could make American Pie with women, but you can’t. What can you do with a nipple pie?”
When asked if the quality of the films at this year’s CSAFF indicated a trend toward better storytelling in Indian cinema, Abhinav Shiv Tiwari, director of Oass, answered, “Absolutely.” The film’s producer, Jimeesh Gandhi, followed up: “If your research is good, the script is good, the end product will be good.” Oass shows on October 12 at the Seattle South Asian Film Festival.