Gitanjali Rao on Bombay Rose: I have been working on this film for six years
October actor Gitanjali Rao on her debut as a feature film director with Bombay Rose, which delves into migrants' lives
Bollywood takers may have barely been exposed to the works of Gitanjali Rao, but the theatre actor managed to sweep them off their feet with her intricate act as mother to a crippled daughter Shiuli (played by Banita Sandhu) in October (2018).
Rao currently has her eye trained on her directorial debut, the feature film Bombay Rose, which has already earned the prestige of being the first Indian animated film to open the Critics Week segment of the Venice International Film Festival on August 29.
Discussing the animated feature — which follows a flower-seller who must choose between protecting her family and giving love a chance — Rao said, "I have been working on this film for six years. The themes at play are plenty, including the psyche of migrants, their love for their homes, and everything that they leave behind, and also their aspirations of finding a foothold in [a new] city. There are three primary characters. Salim is a Kashmiri man escaping the turbulent politics at his home [town]. Kamala escapes a child-marriage. And Shirley is my inroad into exploring the fragile world of show business."
Rao has borrowed from her understanding of the residents of Mumbai, particularly those frequenting Juhu beach, Chuim village and St Andrew's church, to weave these stories. "There are some references to the dance bars that were [recently] banned." Despite the progress made in animation films in Hollywood, she laments the limited attention it has received in India. This Cinestaan production, she hopes, will be a game-changer in that aspect.
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