Dedipya Joshii: “Filmmaking is like Lovemaking For Me”!
|Filmmaker Dedipya Joshi|
(An Interview with the Filmmaker of the Much Acclaimed Film ‘Saankal’)
Q&A: Mr Joshii I am sure you are much excited about your first feature film Saankal’s release on 28th November 2017. Before we talk about your movie, please let us know how films influenced you as a child?
I belong to a family which is traditionally inclined towards literature. I grew up listening to poetries and discussions and expressions around it. I would like to say for the first time… mm... I have never said this in public… but would like to say that for me poetry is like masturbation and filmmaking is lovemaking. I wanted to have the bliss of lovemaking and took to filmmaking because it gave me a bigger canvas and a wide reach than poetry writing. You might agree with me that commercial films had always been impactful and during my formative years Shri Amitabh Bachchan had already become a superstar and his aura had a tremendous impact on the kids at that time. Anurag Kashyap and many others were drawn to films due to his stardom and I am one among them.
I still remember when I was around 12 to 13 year old, kids of my age use to watch films of Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna and Dharmendra and use to believe that the films were made by these actors. But even at that age, I had developed a kind of understanding that the films were not made by them but by a person who is known as a director. Since then I was always keen to become the man behind films i.e. the Director.
|Courtesy Facebook Saankal|
Q&A: Let us talk about how you took interest in filmmaking?
I did my studies in Jaipur and during my first year of my graduation my parents moved to Mumbai which I knew was the cultural hub and many had moved ahead in their life landing there. As I was pursuing my studies I stayed back in Jaipur but often used to frequent Mumbai to be with my parents. During my visits, I also got in touch with many people in the industry and fortunately got to work as an apprentice in a film which was shot in Jaipur in which Pran Sahab was the actor in it. That experience of mine on the sets changed the way I watched movies. After that whenever I used to see a film I used to think about how a particular scene would have been shot. I imagined the sets and the lights, camera angle etc. to be honest, I lost the joy of watching films and was actually sad because of this as I was unable to watch films like any other viewer who reached the theatre. So first of all, I worked upon this particular habit of mine and I once again started watching and enjoying films as a viewer. Since then, I ensure that I watch a film like an audience and not as a filmmaker. There are many who accompany me who while watching movie observes very minutely and picks up the shortcomings in it, but I never go into it. I find myself more focused on the content of the film. I watch both parallel and commercial film with equal interest and also do go through varied emotions while I watch these movies.
I feel I am more comfortable making realistic films than a commercial film because I find commercial films are larger than life. I as a person doesn’t know to hide my emotions and whatever emotions I go through is easily evident on my face (Laughs).
Q&A: Share us about your initial years in this industry. We also know that you had made some interesting serials as well?
Let me share with you something Thomas, when I came into the industry at that time Assistant Directors were not paid properly, rather they were not paid at all. People at my level were asked to sign a contract for eight to nine months for an X amount and at the end, we were not paid. This is something around 1995 and now it’s almost more than 20 years. During that phase of my life, ZEE TV and Sony were launched. So those who wanted to survive in this field they joined TV. There were many directors who were talented but were having a tough time here tried their hand on TV. For many TV and these channels were a golden opportunity. I joined Ajay Kartik, he is an NSD pass out. He made some very good serials. People switched from Doordarshan to these channels and during this period ZEE and Sony came out with good serials. I worked for two and half years and at that time a serial used to have around 52 episodes and each one used to come once in a week. But then the concept of daily soaps came in and then onwards serial making became more commercialized and TRP driven. I did ‘Faasle’ (a family drama), ‘Biji Ke Peeji’ (it was a comedy serial), ‘Tejaswani’ and some more with Ajayji as an assistant to him. After doing these work, I started feeling that I should do something of my own. Though I worked as assistant director for movies like Pyaar Pyaar, Attal Irada, Hinsa in which Jeetendra and Raj Babbar were the star cast, I still felt I didn’t know much about making films because there was a gap of many years. As my first initiative, I made a comedy serial titled as ‘Chakkar Hi Chakkar’ and the project got the approval of DD. Then I made a serial ‘Yeh Rishta Na Tutte’ for ZEE’s Urdu channel. Yeh Rishta Na Tutte was a family drama comprising of two families – One Muslim and the other Hindu family. This serial was a hit and particularly this serial had a large audience in Pakistan. We used to get a lot of appreciation letters from the viewers in Pakistan. And after that, we made a serial ‘Yeh Preet Na Jaane Reet’ for ETV. This was about relationships in a family in Rajasthan.
Q&A: So why did you stop making serials after ‘Yeh Preet Na Jaane Reet ?
Actually, after that serial, I kept myself aloof from all these things for almost one and half years. And during this period I didn’t do anything. My family was also a bit concerned and worried about me at this period because they felt that I must do something and establish myself. I actually wanted to do films and I was looking for opportunities. I didn’t get opportunities to work in commercial films because it was too difficult to get in as there were directors and producers who had their own lobby and groups. And there was no point in working with small time producers and directors because they too were strugglers. In 2004, I came in touch with Raj Kumar Bann, an FTII pass out who went to France and settled there. He wanted to make a film in India. I came to know that people use to get grants for their first film in France. O at that time I used to spent my time with people in FTII then and got involved in this film which was ‘Darpan Ke Peeche’ (Behind the Mirror). This film got released in 2005. And during my association with him, I came to know about world cinema which was meaningful and relevant. I liked the environment and the association a lot. Films of Satyajit Ray had inspired me a lot. I felt that there is so much to explore and do. At that time commercial films were about fights, item songs etc and as far as parallel films we used to see slow movies and people were not able to savour them easily. I liked Darpan Ke Peeche's script because it had everything - depth, speed and a message. I felt I should do something like that. I was with Raj Kumar Bann for almost one and half years till 2005. He was the director and I worked as the associate director. This film went to various film festivals including Cannes.
|With Abeera (Tanima) and Kesar (Chetan) of Saankal|
Q&A: What happened after ‘Darpan Ke Peeche’ in your life as a filmmaker?
After this lovely experience I was fully motivated to make a film called ‘Kanchli’ and therefore, I got the rights of one of the stories written by a very known writer of our country Shri. Vijaydan Dettha, also known as Bijji. He was a noted writer from Rajasthan. Shyam Benegal’s ‘Charan Das Chor’ and the film ‘Paheli’ which Shahrukh Khan did were based on Vijaydan Detha’s stories. So, in short, I met many actors for this film like Vidya Balan, Radhika Apte and many more. But unfortunately, that film didn’t happen because of funding issues. Meanwhile, as I didn’t want to do TV again and I wanted to do something, I got a chance to do Info Commercial Ad Films (Long Duration Ad Films). I did this for Telemart Company of Sudanshu Sharma. He asked me to make an advertisement for him and since then from 2005 to 2017 I had made more than three hundred and fifty Ad films. Actually, the earnings from these projects ensured my bread and butter. I saved some money, had some good friends who contributed, Telemart also offered some amount and a film lover I know in Rajasthan Mr Anand Rathore also invested a large amount and joined as a co-producer for the film Saankal I had made in 2015.
Q&A: How did the idea of ‘Saankal’ germinate in your mind?
Saankal came to my mind in 2005 when I came upon an article in India Today magazine. As you know I am from Rajasthan and I find many social vices in the name of traditions in our state. To name a few - we used to have Sati, then there was another tradition where women were sold publically, and many more, where directly or indirectly women were subdued and exploited. So I felt the article was good and it provided me ample inputs for a story, therefore, I scanned the article and saved it. But as I mentioned earlier, I got busy with developing ‘Kanchli’ which didn’t happen. Meanwhile, many good and talented people joined my team like Tanima Bhattacharya whom I met during an Ad shoot joined as an actor as she wanted to work in a production house, then Harishji who is there with me since long. Both of us pitch in together to get projects and get it sanctioned and funded, then I met Chetan Sharma who was in ‘Sabhash India’ as a child actor. Chetan’s father stayed with me in constant touch and used to give me information about Chetan’s growth as an actor. I saw Chetan acting in the much-acclaimed movie “Aankhon Dekhi’ and decided to cast him in Saankal. The young boys (Music directors Nishant Kamal Vyas and Shriram Upadhyay, Lyrics by Anshul Vyas) who gave music to Saankal are from my family.
Actually, we as a team before Saankal thought of making a musical film called ‘Jaipur Kites’ on some young boys who have their music band and for the world they are grey but actually, they can go to any extent to help anyone. But then again, it didn’t happen due to lack of funds. And then I searched for the article that I saved and reached Jaisalmer saw the place mentioned in the article. Later, we as a team went there to understand more about the tradition and how women fell prey to that particular tradition followed by a particular community there. Gradually, many pitched in. Milind Gunaji was generous enough not to charge for his role, and Mr Anand Rathore invested a major amount in Saankal as a co-producer and finally, Saankal happened. I still believe that there is a superior power that plays a big role in my life that makes things easier for me and guides me through ruffled times. After Saankal, I have started telling people that take things easily, give your 100% and the rest will be taken care off by the Almighty.
Q&A: Mr Joshii finally Saankal hits the theatre on 28th November 2017. How do you feel and what would you like to tell your audience?
I would like my audience to watch the film and give me their valuable feedbacks so that I continue making good films. I am sure that Saankal, after being selected in 32 International Film Festivals and winning 13 awards, will certainly be received wholeheartedly by the audience and Kesar and Abeera (the lead protagonist are Chetan (Kesar) and Tanima Bhattacharya (Abeera)) shall find a place in their hearts.
Life Connoisseur Movie Rating of Saankal: 3.5 /5