Desi mom Dr Meena Nerurkar conquers America with her Marathi film
Award-winning theatre artiste Dr Meena Nerurkar tells us how her Marathi film directorial debut, A Dot Com Mom, is exactly the opposite of English Vinglish
Dr Meena Nerurkar
It's a universal truth that the mother-son bond is a unique one," says Dr Meena Nerurkar, actor/director/writer/producer of the Marathi film A Dot Com Mom, that releases this Friday across Maharashtra. "Our film, among other things, deals with that bond. It also says that women can be good, and not bitchy, unlike those Ekta Kapoor serials, which degrade women. All women are good, you know," who is in the city currently to promote the movie.
A Dot Com Mom is about a simpleton mother (played by Nerurkar) who visits her son and his wife in America. She fails miserably at fitting in and comes back, only to be summoned again as need for her arises. How will she adjust this time? "Actually our movie is the opposite of English Vinglish," says Nerurkar, who also played a small role in the Sridevi-starrer. "We say that you don't need to learn English to survive in America, as it's a land of immigrants. Every year at the Oscars, a non-American will win and he will give a speech in his native language. It's about surviving despite the odds, by being yourself."
A gynecologist by profession, Nerurkar, who acted in the American soap One Life to Live, has won the Jagatik Marathi Academy Award for her movie Sundara Manamadhe Bharli, and the Maharashtra State Award for Best Playwright. "I am a theatre person, and this is the first time I am taking on such a big project. The producers pulled out a year ago and I took on that responsibility too. I knew this movie would work, as it's a light comedy that delivers a message without being preachy."
A still from A Dot Com Mom
Nerurkar, who has been living in Philadelphia with her also-gynaecologist husband Anil for 40 years now, keeps herself busy with musical pursuits, when she is not practicing medicine. She recently made a musical where she revived 21 Hridaynath Mangeshkar's songs. "So all the dialogues are actually lyrics. We have a Marathi convention every two years in Philadelphia and I often do these plays for that."
It's this NRI experience that Nerurkar wanted to capture in her movie. "Everyone here indulges in their passion. I work for five days, and two days, I write and act. I wanted to use this movie to showcase the Marathi immigrant's life." A Dot Com Mom also stars former Splitsvilla contestant Sai Gundewar, who described the shoot of the movie as flawless. "My director is an energiser bunny. Since she has been there for 40 years, every one working on the set knew her and wanted to do their best for her," he says.
When she heads to Philadephia in November, Nerurkar plans to start working on a movie about Dr Anandi Joshi, the first female Indian doctor to travel to the US in 1883. But for now, she is eager to see how audiences, Marathi or otherwise, react to this movie. "We showcased it at the Marathi Film Festival in Goa in June. The night before, people had panned Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Marathi movie, so I was anxious. But then they loved it and the organisers told us that they haven't got such a thunderous applause in years. And then I got stopped by this village couple, who saw the movie and said that despite it being 30 per cent in English, the message was hard to miss. If you make up your mind, you can do anything at all. That's all you need to know."
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