CHAT Director Nila Madhab Panda holds a mirror to today’s youth with a love story
After giving children’s films in India a new lease of life, director Nila Madhab Panda is turning to issues more mature. The director of I Am Kalam and Jalpari is making a love story. “I have grown up into an adult,” quips Nila as we settle for a conversation.
Called Love Is Not Mathematics , the film has Odia star Anu Choudhary and Sahil Anand in lead roles. But it goes without saying that love is not about calculations. Isn’t it? “This is my point. We all know love is about innocence, love is about sacrifice but we don’t strive for it anymore. Look at the number of divorces that are happening after two-three years of marriage. It was not the case 10 years back,” says Nila, adding, the film is partly based on his personal experience.
“These days, there are instances where a marriage comes to the brink of divorce because the boy fails to change his habit of leaving the towel on the bed after taking a bath. It sounds silly but such arguments have been heard in our courts.”
Nila says mainstream Hindi films have also helped in spreading stereotypes about emotions. “Earlier in films, love was about a boy from a poor family trying to marry a rich girl. They seldom talked about what happened after such marriages. How did they grapple with everyday reality? These days, love has become cosmetic. It is about looking cute, wearing designer dresses. Too much sexuality has crept into relationships. The emotions are missing. And it reflects in the society where love is increasingly being reduced to lust, which lasts for may be two-three years. Why don’t the boy and the girl communicate with each other after marriage the way they used to when they were friends?”
Through the story of three friends, Nila says he is trying to show the mirror to today’s youth. “When love gets diluted in interpersonal relations, it reflects on the children and gradually affects the entire society and this is what we are seeing around us. We are increasingly becoming self-seeking.”
An argument that we often hear is that today’s woman is financially secure and is not ready to take any bellicose behaviour from her spouse, which her mother might have. “I don’t think it is about gender and I am not ready to believe that our mothers who reared us were soft women who suffered in silence,” argues Nila. “In fact,” he continues, “the kind of balance they had to maintain in joint families required tremendous skill and stamina. I think love demands compromise and when I use the word it is not in a negative sense. When you truly love somebody you have to ignore or come to terms with the weaknesses of your partner.” Shot in Delhi and Manali, the film is almost ready for release.
Earlier in films, love was about a boy from a poor family trying to marry a rich girl. These days, love is about looking cute, wearing designer dresses