The author turned filmmaker Aditya Kripalani talks about his upcoming movie ‘Tikli and Laxmi Bomb’ in this interview with DigiKarma.
Q. Hi Aditya! Welcome to DigiKarma. Please tell our readers about your journey.
My journey started from FTII where I studied screenplay & I graduated from there in 2004. Post that, I spent 5 years as a Creative Head at Idream production makers of Monsoon wedding, Bend it like Beckham, and other such movies. Then after a year as the Creative Head at Percept Picture Company, I spent 7 years in advertising. Amidst all this I’ve kept my Creative self ‘alive’ with three novels that are my babies and the expressions of my deepest thoughts: ‘Back Seat’, ‘Front Seat’ & ‘Tikli and Laxmi Bomb’. My last book awakened my love for cinema as a maker again. When I was 19 I wanted to make films. Then by 22, I wanted to only write them. And soon I was disillusioned with the film business as I only wanted to tell stories that I wanted to, while as a writer that wasn’t possible. Also, I didn’t want to direct for others – Hence, the nearly 8 years long hiatus. This book made my love for cinema come full circle. Had I not chosen to make a film purely for the love of telling a story I’d never have experienced what it is to direct. I’m grateful to this story.
Q. Tell us about your upcoming movie ‘Tikli and Laxmi Bomb’?
It’s a story about revolution. It is about two women, who lead a gang of women to overthrow men in the sex industry to run it ‘by the women & for the women’ as a co-operative. Not unlike the ‘AMUL cooperative’ and the film ‘Manthan’. These women – there is no ‘Mayoosi’ (or gloom) in them. They’re happy go lucky in general & yet the bonds that run between them are deeper than those of most lovers for their dark sides are shared.
Inspired by other films like ‘Thelma and Louise’, ‘Mirch Masala’, ‘Rang De Basanti’ and others, Cinema about revolution has shaped my thoughts and world view.
Q. Your first two books were best sellers then why not a movie on them, instead, you chose TALB?
TALB has a message that I felt needed to reach the audience. It’s as simple as that. Numerous more people watch films as compared to those that read books. Also, cinema has so much to add to a story in terms of bringing it alive. It’s a completely different medium.
Q. How is the experience of transitioning from author to filmmaker?
It has been a beautiful experience. It’s such a team effort. It was beautiful right from hand picking each member of the crew & cast and then uniting with their best efforts to make this labor of love. When we parted I went through a postpartum depression of a kind. It was like an empty womb feeling. Suddenly, after having harbored this baby for 2 years, every day every waking moment only thinking about it and suddenly it was done. It was certainly a strange feeling of emptiness.
Q. What were your creative goals when you first conceived this project? Were there specific emotions or ideas that you wanted to explore?
I think my creative ‘goal’ was for people to be quite disturbed & to be eased into that disturbance without realizing it and thinking that they’re having fun. I wanted the lighting to be as natural as possible -we achieved that. I wanted to shoot on all real locations- we achieved that. I wanted to cast all good actors who could improvise- managed that and stuck to regional actors for regional roles. I wanted Tikli and Laxmi to share an on screen chemistry that you’ll remember long after the film – I think people will as Vibhawari and Chitrangada both achieved that.
Q. You’re a musician as well.So are you giving the music of the movie too? Tell us something about the music of the movie?
The music of the film is being done by me, Dhanashree Ganatra, Laxmi Bomb the band and one song by Ganesh Talkies from Calcutta. It’s a mix of genres. Just as the women are from various parts of the country and age groups, the music is too. Right from Maharashtrian folk music, to electronic pop, to a disco Biddu-ish space to Blues which are for Laxmi. The most important piece is ‘Mumba Devi de mujhko maafi’- that’s the central piece of the song. There’s also the theme music composed by Akshay Gidwani.
Q. What’s your take on the term “FILM FESTIVAL MOVIE” and do you think that your movie falls in the same bracket?
The term ‘film festival movie’ sometimes means it’s just not got a big enough producer. Or it also means it has a slower telling or pace than the more populist form of cinema. Or it could just be a different narrative form. In this case, we fall into the first type. As this is a fast paced engaging telling. Also, it’s a narrative storytelling not abstract in any way. So it isn’t art house. I think this could be a strong commercial success given just a basic number of screens. And yet I also believe it’ll do well abroad- because of its telling again. There is no melodrama, no song and dance, a very real setting, a very realistic shot taking, shot division and lighting. Also, it’s a sync sound film.
Facebook Page for Aditya Kripalani
Q. What you think about the current phase of Indian Cinema and do you think your movie aligns with it and has the audience?
I think it’s a beautiful phase where so many strong subjects are coming to light. I think this movie is coming out at the right time.
Q. What movies have been most inspiring or influential to you and why?
‘Taare zameen par’ – as I’ve never cried as much in any other film. ‘Silence of the lambs’ – because I feel I’m like Clarice Starling from within, in some sense & of course it’s a fab film. ‘Dances with wolves’- for its story and grand visuals. ‘DDLJ’- the romance of my generation, I saw it 32 times in the theater. ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘Thelma and Louise’ – for their revolution based stories. ‘Before sunrise’ & ‘Before sunset’ – as the most romantic films ever, ‘Blue by Kieslowski’- for its treatment of Color, emotion, and grief. ‘Where is the friends home’ – for its beautiful simplicity and the way it was shot,.‘A taste of cherry’ – for the pace at which it is told and its characters. ‘Salaam Bombay’- for being the best film on Mumbai ever & depicting the purest romance between two people – Manju and Chaipav.‘Dev D’ – again, a beautiful romance. ’Black Friday’ – for its treatment and depiction of Mumbai. ‘Lagaan’ – for being such a complete film with every rasa in it and so well balanced and engaging despite me not liking Cricket.
Q. Thank You so much for talking to us and all the best for your film. Is there anything you would like to tell our readers?
Not much. Enjoy the ride.
Note: This Interview was taken by Ash from DigiKarma.
Facebook Page for Ash (@officiallyAsh)