Debutante director Kiran Rao talks about Dhobi Ghat and more…

 

 

Diganta Guha
How did the idea of Dhobi Ghat come up?
Initially, the story of the film revolved around the life of a dhobi or a washerman. That’s how the film was supposed to pan out. The entire story idea was borne out of experiences of living in a city like Mumbai where there are so many things happening all the time. A person living in this city cannot afford to waste time or energy. But everytime he leaves a place for another there is something he takes with him. That’s how the character of Arun (Aamir Khan) is born who stumbles upon ‘something’ that changes his world. 

Aamir is a perfectionist. How tough was it to convince him for the role?
I wouldn’t say he is just a perfectionist. I’d say he is extremely passionate about everything he does. I was initially nervous while narrating the script to him because there aren’t too many scripts that he ends up liking. But I’m glad he could relate to the stories of my script and his answer was ‘yes’. 
 
How was it directing Aamir Khan?
Aamir is a great actor, committed and extremely gifted. The rest of the actors were mostly first timers. With Aamir it was a different ballgame altogether. He kind of elevates your own skills while working. 
 
Some say, he interferes too much…
Honestly speaking, he didn’t give too many inputs on the sets. But yes,  during editing of the film, he was a great help. He is a very good editor and I sought his inputs on that.   
 
Tell us something about Prateik Babbar…
His character Munna has shaped up really well in the film. Prateik is so versatile he can get under the skin of any character. I find glimpses of Smita Patil in him.

Having stayed in Kolkata for a good period of time, would you be interested in doing a Bengali film?
Well it won’t be unusual if I say that I would love to situate a film in Kolkata because Kolkata has always been nostalgic for me. Kolkata is a photographer’s dream. And how can I forget the food!
 
Have you drawn inspiration from any Bengali director?
I am a great fan of Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Ray. I have also seen some films by Tapan Sinha. I saw Unishe April and Bariwali directed by Rituparno Ghosh. I loved both. 
 
What’s your message to your fans in Kolkata?
I was brought up in Kolkata and I am really looking forward to getting a good response here.

Do you want people to go to theatres with a pre-conceived notion because of all the hype being created around the film…
Dhobi Ghat is a film for the common man. I am sure people would find some details of their daily lives reflecting in the characters of my film. My mission would be accomplished once the audience manage to relate to the film.

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