Director Shilpi Dasgupta presents us a film, Khandaani Shafakhana, of a relevant and an important subject. The film casts Sonakshi Sinha, Varun Sharma and the rapper-turned-actor Badshah. The film deals with a rather ‘taboo’ topic in India, sexual disorders. It will be released on 2nd August 2019.

Q. What made you choose the subject of this movie?
Even though this subject is considered a ‘taboo’, it was very important to spread this message to the people. And putting such a serious topic in a comical way helps us to reach more audience.

Q. This marks as your debut film so how did you decide to go with this subject as your debut film’s subject?
I had not planned anything beforehand. My friend, Gautam Mehra came up with this story and my heart automatically called up on it. We sat together and wrote it further and it got ready in over a year and a half. Many people left and many joined it during this whole process. It was a very honest and a motivated journey. We started shooting on 25th January and now it will be out very soon.

Q. How did you connect with T-series?
My producer, Mahavir, showed a lot of trust on this film and its script. Although the parents of this idea is Gautam Mehra and I don’t know where he got this idea from. But very soon, in a nascent stage, I took this idea from him and so it became my baby as well. Then many people joined it, Mahavir, Bhushan, Sonakshi, Badshah, Varun, Kulbhushan, Annu, Nagraji, then even the city of Amritsar joined in and eventually this how it is today.

Q. Was Sonakshi your first choice?
I wanted an actress who could give justice to this role and enact it truthfully. I was extremely lucky to have found someone who was ready to shed her inhibitions. You can see in the film that how honestly and with belief, she has portrayed this role. There was no such time where she became demanding as an actress regarding to clothes or makeup. Baby Bedi found Sonakshi and Sonakshi found Baby Bedi. And in turn, we are extremely lucky because she has done a fantastic job by being an ambassador of a subject like this.

Q. Have you written any other scripts?
 I had written something for CID, a crime genre, I wrote it a long time ago. I am a pass-out from Film and TV Institute of India, Pune. I have studied direction. Then I came to Bombay and CID was my bread and butter. Then things started coming in. I have worked on many films, feature films and also web series. Then this story arrived and I started working on this too.

Q. What kind of a director you see yourself as?
I am very proud of the fact that I am a trained technician. I did not start my career from any assistant-ship. I started out my career when I got into FTII. I did my 3 year course there. So when I entered in the industry, I had a base. Writing, camera, editing is all secondary for a director. But we are taught all this extremely tightly in the institute. But writing isn’t my first choice. I was sure about one thing that I won’t ever write on my own in my first film. So I was very lucky to have found Gautam as my writer as he is also my friend. He worked extremely hard on this. When he came on board for this, he was 2 years old in this work. I was new here.

Q. You are from Bhopal, how was your past experience related to the word ‘sex education’?
 I come from a Convent school where anything related to sex was not spoken about. In fact, this film is like my childhood’s revolt. Boys were made into a monster for us, we were only made to fear the subject and never encouraged to ask questions. We were growing to become adolescent girls and hormonal changes were happening inside us but we had no idea about what is going on and where to go and talk about this. Today there is Google for you but we had nothing. In small cities, it is very important for parents to talk to about this with their kids. So maybe I was attracted to a story like this because it was there in my mind somewhere. It is time that people realize that this not a matter of shame.

Q. Sonakshi has formed an image of doing only family films. Do you think this film fits that image?
This film is also a family film. So this is an asset for us and for Baby Bedi. She has portrayed this role very fantastically; she has given her heart to the film. This role has responsibility and also comedy but she has maintained the balance very well.

By Rujuta Thete

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