'Yeh Hai Bakrapur' is seriously light
Social satire is not a frequently explored genre in Bollywood. Janaki Vishwanathan, who made the award-winning Tamil film, 'Kutty', is now back with 'Yeh Hai Bakrapur', which combines social perspective with entertainment. Excerpts from an interview:
Q. Why did you decide to make a film in Hindi?
A. 'Yeh Hai Bakrapur' is a socio-political satire, reflecting the various trends in our society. I thought Hindi was better suited to the backdrop of the film. Also, I wanted a national audience for the film. The film reflects humorously on socio-political trends about conflict and communal tensions, the importance of which is even more amplified in this election scenario.
Q. Do you feel that cinema on socially relevant topics needs an entertainment quotient too?
A. With escalating problems and pressures, people want to relax when they walk into a theatre. So, when you choose to discuss something that’s social relevant in your film, you are best off doing it in a light hearted manner that entertains even as it shares a perspective. Hence the decision to get into the satire space with this film. 'Yeh Hai Bakrapur' will be 100 minutes of good laughter!
Q. Why did you decide to have a goat as the main protagonist of the film?
A. I actually drew inspiration for the film from the story of a real-life goat called Khushi, who was believed to have magical powers, deified and sold for an absurd amount of money. That’s where the goat came from. In the context of the film and it’s story, the goat is a metaphor intended to signify numerous things.
Q. How was it to shoot with a goat as the protagonist?
A. I believe that animals are incredibly intuitive. For instance, we were shooting a sequence where the little boy is heartbroken about losing his goat and hugging it. At the end of the shot, we found Shahrukh was shedding tears too. It was amazing!
Q. Why did you name the goat Shah Rukh?
A. There’s a trend in Indian villages to name their pet animals after Bollywood superstars — Shah Rukh, Salman, Aamir and even Saif and Kareena. Since these animals are considered as family members, this is intended to be a way to signify their adoration for these superstars. So, in that context, as we were reflecting on Indian society, we wanted to stay true to that trend.
I auditioned nearly 400 goats before we settled on this one, who actually happened to be named Shahrukh. He was about a year old at the time, and was used to the name by then, and so wouldn’t respond to anything else.
Q. What kind of response did the film get at the Goteborg and MAMI film festival?
A. At MAMI, we had two shows where the audience was laughing right till the end. At Goteborg, we got a similar response though the audience was culturally different. In fact, a man from Palestine came up to me and said that the film had global appeal.
BANNER: Shruthikkaa Films
PRODUCER: Ramesh S Arunachalam
DIRECTOR: Janaki Vishwanathan
STARCAST: Anshuman Jha, Asif Basra, Amit Sial, Uttkarsh Majumdar, Faiz Mohammed, Suruchi Aulakh, Yaushika Verma
RELEASE DATE: May 9 2014
Watch out for: 'Yeh Hai Bakrapur' is a social satire set in rural India. The film has earned appreciation at various film festivals. Actor Anshuman Jha who shot to fame with Dibakar Banerjee's Love Sex Aur Dhoka will be seen on screen after quite some time. The project has been helmed by Janaki Vishwanathan, who made the National Award winning Tamil film, 'Kutty' in 2001.
IN A SHOT: With the new age audience lapping up films with unique subjects, Yeh Hai Bakrapur has a bright chance to shine at the ticket windows. Guess we will have to wait and watch!