Film­mak­ing is a jour­ney, says Rima Das

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - FRONT PAGE - Sonil Ded­hia ■ sonil.ded­ San­skrita Bharadwaj

There are good days and bad days dur­ing the lock­down,” points out ac­tor Tanuj Vir­wani, who is en­joy­ing spend­ing time at home, and is pur­su­ing hob­bies that one can’t in a daily work rou­tine. “I don’t need to cook as I am lucky to have a live-in chef but I de­cided why not utilise this time to learn some­thing. I have started cook­ing some­thing that I am not re­ally good at. My mother (Rati Ag­ni­hotri) is in Poland with my aunt, so I am miss­ing her and the food she cooks,” he says.

The In­side Edge ac­tor, along with his col­leagues, have come up with an an­i­mated comic se­ries which is aimed to reach out to peo­ple who are flout­ing the lock­down rules and also raise money for Covid-19 war­riors, “I was shoot­ing for a web-se­ries with Jitne­dra Joshi and Ritwik Dhanaji when the lock­down hap­pened. We were ran­domly talking about how we wanted to be in­no­va­tive and at the same time not be preachy. We de­cided to do some­thing light­hearted that yet drives home the point,” he says, adding, “It is tar­geted at peo­ple who are be­hav­ing ir­re­spon­si­bly and aren’t un­der­stand­ing the mean­ing of lock­down. The end is to raise money through this se­ries and con­trib­ute to an NGO,” he shares.

How much has his life changed post the lock­down? “I am a hyper per­son and al­ways like to be oc­cu­pied with some­thing, so the first cou­ple of weeks were dif­fi­cult as it hap­pened sud­denly. But this pe­riod has been a jour­ney of self-dis­cov­ery. It feels like we have hit the pause but­ton, and it is for the good. The lock­down has some­where been ther­a­peu­tic as it has made me calmer and more pa­tient as a per­son which is go­ing to help me, both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally. It has al­lowed me to spend time with my fam­ily and peo­ple who mat­ter the most,” he con­cludes.

Film­maker Rima Das, whose film Vil­lage Rock­stars (2017) was In­dia’s of­fi­cial en­try to the 91st Academy Awards, has been stay­ing alone in Mum­bai dur­ing the lock­down. “I was work­ing on an un­ti­tled film with Til­lotama Shome. More than 50% of the film was sup­posed to be shot in Mum­bai and the rest in As­sam. But now, the film is go­ing to be on an in­def­i­nite halt. We would have had a crew with us. It looks very un­likely that shoots will be­gin any­time soon,” she says.

Talking about spend­ing time on her own, Das says, she used to al­ways like her own space “but this lock­down and pan­demic are ‘forc­ing’ peo­ple to stay at home, which is in­creas­ing my anx­i­eties about the uncer­tainty of things even more. How many movies can one watch now, it is get­ting a bit too much.”

Das wishes she was at her na­tive place in As­sam right now, but she is hope­ful that she will be able to head back home soon. “We have to be hope­ful in these times. That’s all we can do,” says the maker of films such as Bul­bul Can Sing (2018) and Man with the Binoc­u­lars (2016).

Ini­tially, Das who wanted to be­come an ac­tor, says mak­ing her award win­ning film

Vil­lage Rock­stars was a jour­ney of sorts for her. “I have heard peo­ple say neg­a­tive things about it. But there will al­ways be peo­ple who will say both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive things. One has to be sen­si­ble enough to take some­thing from both. When Man with the Binoc­u­lars didn’t do well, I was dev­as­tated, and I cried one day in the mid­dle of the road, but I did not give up. I kept try­ing. Film­mak­ing is a jour­ney. Some peo­ple are lucky, they get in­stant suc­cess but for oth­ers it’s a process, it’s not some­thing that can be achieved in a day. You might even get suc­cess overnight but the ef­fort, the ded­i­ca­tion, the pas­sion and the love for mak­ing films are a con­tin­u­ous process,” says Das who en­joys watch­ing Ma­jid Ma­jidi and An­drei Tarkovsky films, and wishes to make more “re­al­is­tic and ex­per­i­men­tal” films.


Rima Das

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