Author Aditya Kripalani talks about his book and turning into a filmmaker
Aditya Kripalani wrote and self-published his first novel, 'Back Seat' when he was 26 years of age. Within five years of his first release, he wrote a sequel called 'Front Seat'. Back Seat was placed 10th against 300 other titles in 2009 ‘Hollywood Book Festival’. Both the books became the best sellers. His latest offering 'Tikli and Laxmi Bomb' is getting turned into a film. The book is a story about two sex workers, who decide to attain autonomy in their profession by running a small part of the sex trade by women and for women. Aditya has a dynamic, dramatic, love-hate relationship with Mumbai and thus city forms a backdrop of most of his artistic expressions in his books.
The 35-year-old author has turned a filmmaker with his third book 'Tikli and Laxmi Bomb'. On directing this film Aditya says, “The story speaks of a revolution that may seem too far-fetched in reality, but it hopes to at least plant the seed in the minds of the people.”
What is the difference between the book Tikli and Laxmi Bomb and the movie
The film is crisper, it is more externalised, it's more bang on as a Three Act Structure. and the flavour of the relationship between Tikli and Laxmi has also been informed, imbued by the equation that Chitra and Vibha have on screen. Tsamchoe's character isn't from Nepal, she's from Uttarakhand, Manda speaks 6 languages on screen, in the book she speaks only 1 or 2. These are some of the differences.
What research did you do before writing the book?
I met sex workers from various parts of Mumbai and just spent time talking to them. I also visited various brothels to see what the organisational structure is like.
What is the movie all about?
The movie is an uprising in the sex trade. Two women decide to stop paying men a cut for doing nothing and decide to take over a part of the industry themselves to run it for women and by women.
What do you feel about girls who are sex workers?
I think they're some of the most fun women I've had the good fortune to meet. Once you're on a slightly friendly basis with them, their lives are just like ours, they're on FB, they want more likes, they post things every day, their news about the world comes from social media, they get jealous seeing other people's FB lives etc.
While directing the movie, did you feel you could have done some parts of the book differently?
Yes. And we made those changes in the film. When an author makes his own film, he can re-tell the same story again, working on its flaws.
Aditya Kriplani at the sets
Since it a bold subject, do you think it will have problems with the Censor Board?
I don't know now. Since there has been a change. We, as an industry are all hopeful that the change will bring with it a chance for more films with a message to have a voice.
What was the idea behind having all women-crew for the film?
I wanted to avoid the male gaze as much as possible. The way the film looks at women, their bodies, their gait, their interactions with each other, all of it required a female point of view. So other than the director, everyone is a woman; the producer, the DOP, The editor, The Chief AD, The Art/Architecture Head, the Co-Music Director, even bands like Laxmi Bomb and Ganesh Talkies, which are about strong feminine themes and/or have a lady vocalist add to the feminine power on this film.
How was it working with Suchitra Pillai and other actresses?
Suchitra is a friend. But she's also a fine, talented actress who leaves her mark on everything she does. She is a thorough professional and has played Manda, the opposition leader, very well. Vibha is a delight to work with and played Laxmi to the hilt, just as I'd imagined and sometimes better. Chitra is a firebrand, imbuing the character of Tikli with so much spirit and earnestness. Both Chitra and Vibha have played the main roles superbly. Couldn't have asked for more. EVen Upendra Limaye, who plays Mhatre has rocked it, Divya Unny as Sharanya, Kritika Pande as Tsamchoe, Rakhi Mansha as Heera Moti and Mia Meltzer as Kala have played important strong roles. Kamil shaikh is one of the two main antagonists as Shinde.
Who is your inspiration behind making the movie?
My grandfather and grandmother. They both were personifications of Kindness and Defiance; the two emotions most evident in Tikli and Laxmi Bomb.
How was your childhood like?
My childhood was frustrating at some levels. I didn't play cricket well, at least at school, I wasn't fit as other boys were and I was very thin with big teeth. I was the butt of all jokes and women at that point, unlike at this age, didn't want the sensitive sort of man who cries. At that point, everyone wanted the stud. Now they want the sensitive type, once they've also grown up to go beyond stereotypes.
What is your advice to young aspiring writers
Don't just write. Make a film, at least once. You must know the other side. It's beautiful too. Then go back to just writing if you still feel like. But do try filmmaking. As for writing, write the story you want to watch/read. That's all. Don't write for audiences. Write what you as an audience member would like to watch. Nothing else.