A lot has changed since Anand Gandhi began his career in the showbiz as the writer of Ekta Kapoor’s longest running soap ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’
Gandhi, who also worked on the screenplay of ‘Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii’, is all set to debut as a filmmaker with ’Theseus’ Ship’, which unlike the larger-than-life world of Saas-Bahus, explores philosophical questions like morality, ethics and ideologies.
“That was ten years ago, I was open to possibilities and everyone was working in TV back then. It was amazing to work with Ekta but my world is completely different,” Gandhi told PTI in an interview.
The Mumbai-based filmmaker is already a known name in the film festival circuit after his two short films ‘Right Here Right Now’ and ‘Continuum’ co-directed with Khushboo Ranka earned him International awards and critical acclaim.
Gandhi was initially involved in parallel theatre, where he wrote and directed several critically acclaimed plays but feels he was always waiting for his tryst with cinema.
“Cinema has always been my calling, it has always been the thing that I wanted to do. I have worked in theatre and TV before and cinema brings them together. In fact my plays were written in screenplay format,” Gandhi said.
’Theseus’ Ship’ weaves four different stories together -- of an intuitive brilliant blind photographer, a monk’s ethics put to test; an obsessive compulsive clockmaker with an ailing heart, and a young stock broker who gets caught up in the stolen kidney racket.
“The title is an illusion to the philosophical paradox. Each character has a strong ideological philosophy, in a constant state of introspection like the blind photographer who is constant dilemma to access her own art, that constant dilemma of whether your art is great or not attracted me to the subject,” Gandhi said.
Set in Cairo, Stockholm and Mumbai, the film asks questions the very idea of art through stories that deal with redemption, maturation, illumination, fear of death and paranoia.
For his first full-fledged film Gandhi admits of purposely not casting big stars and has signed Sohum Shah who debuted in ‘Baabarr’ and Egyptian filmmaker Aida Elkashef, who will be making her debut as an actress.
“I was very keen of not casting exposed faces because the kind of characters I believe in have not been shown on Indian screens before. I had signed Soham before ‘Baabarr’ as my film had been in research for an year. He came to our office and auditioned. I had not heard much of him but I found him real and perfect from the role of the stockbroker,” he said.
“Aida is a young filmmaker who has been travelling all over the world and was not thinking to make her debut as an actress soon. But she just loved the script and her role as a blind photographer,” Gandhi added.
Putting his film in the category of drama, art house and world cinema he wants the movie to go beyond Indian soil as it is primarily in English with parts in Gujarati, Hindi, Swedish and Arabic.
“I don’t really know what is going on in Bollywood. In India there are good filmmakers but I don’t have anyone who inspired me as such although there are a huge number of filmmakers abroad whom I look up to. My target is to reach out to the world and go for the intellectual audiences in Europe and US,” Gandhi said.