Mumbai: Ad filmmaker Gauri Shinde, who is bringing the story of an Indian housewife battling language problem in the US in her directorial debut ‘English Vinglish’, feels blessed to have a husband like R. Balki who shares household chores.
"I`ve an obsession with perfection even at home. But for now I`ve transferred my penchant for perfection to my movies... Thankfully, the home is largely taken care of. My husband Balki has been a very supportive homemaker," said Shinde whose film marks Sridevi`s comeback on silver screen after 15 years.
She adds that Balki supportive nature is a blessing in this male-dominated society, but at the same time she said: "I am not too fond of headlines that praise him for being such a `patni-vrata` (devoted husband). I don`t see any big deal if he is supportive while I make a film. Because I`d do the same for him. Why is it when men do what women do quite quietly, it becomes such a big deal?"
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: ‘English Vinglish’ raises a lot of expectations because it`s Sridevi`s comeback vehicle. Does that put an extra responsibility on your directorial debut?
A: I haven`t allowed myself to think about it. But when I`m asked about it, I do feel the pressure. Maybe when the release is even closer, I`ll feel the stress. Right now I am only thinking of getting the film ready for release.
Q: Sridevi, now a mother of two, so was she able to surrender herself completely to the camera?
A: ...Don`t forget women make magnificent multi-taskers. She is too committed to her character to cheat on it. When she is on camera, she`s completely there. She`s a complete director`s actor... Only a great artiste can bring that level of fluency to her performance.
Q: What about you? You too have a home to run while making a movie?
A: I`ve an obsession with perfection even at home. I don`t like a single speck of dust anywhere. But for now I`ve transferred my penchant for perfection to my movies. For now, it`s okay if the bookshelf is not dusted. The staff at home thinks I`ve given up. Little do they know. Let the film be over and they`ll see. Thankfully, the home is largely taken care of. My husband Balki has been a very supportive homemaker.
Q: Both Boney Kapoor and Balki seem very supportive of Sridevi. What about you?
A: Yes they have. Balki is very supportive. And that`s a blessing in this male-dominated society. But I am not too fond of headlines that praise him for being such a `patnivrata` (devoted husband). I don`t see any big deal if he is supportive while I make a film. Because I`d do the same for him. Why is it when men do what women do quite quietly, it becomes such a big deal?
Q: Would this film have a deeper connect with women from the less developed parts of India?
A: Why only them? I think wives anywhere would connect with the theme. If I can find even 50 women who empathise with the film, who seek out a sense of the self and are encouraged to change their lives, I`d feel the film has worked.
Q: 20 years ago Shabana Azmi discovered that sense of the self in a housewife when she did ‘Arth’. How impacted are you by that movie?
A: Of course, I am influenced by all that absorbed in cinema and life during my growing up years. I loved that era in the 1980s of Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil. Such great progressive scripts were written. Somewhere I think our cinema lost that search for identity that made films like ‘Arth’ and ‘Bhumika’ so memorable. Of course good films are happening today also, but not enough.
Q: Would your next film also have a woman protagonist?
A: I didn`t consciously make a woman-centric film. I made what came instinctively to me. I wanted to make a film about a woman who overcomes her insecurities.
Subhash K. Jha/IANS