Mumbai, Sep 9 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.