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Ravi Udyawar: Emotional conflicts are exciting in a story

Ravi Udyawar

Ravi Udyawar

Remember Dooba Dooba from Silk Route’s album Boondein (1998)? The band’s lead singer and guitarist Mohit Chauhan has come a long way now as a playback singer. The video, said to be one of the first in the country to be shot underwater, was directed by Ravi Udyawar. “That video changed everything for me,” he reminisces. Ravi was 25 then.

A gold medallist in arts from JJ School of Arts, Mumbai, Ravi began his career as a painter and illustrator. His work stints include handling art direction and visualisation at ad agencies, designing graphics for Channel V and MTV and eventually, directing ad films. He hoped to direct a feature film some day and there were always ideas and themes waiting to shape up into full-fledged scripts and films.

Sridevi’s 300th film

“It’s been a long journey,” he says, talking to us as he awaits the release of his debut directorial Mom , which is incidentally Sridevi’s 300th film. “Everything fell in place when I met Boney (Kapoor) sir. He’s a director’s producer,” appreciates Ravi.

The writing credits include the names of Kona Venkat and Girish Kohli. “The seed of the idea, of a story around a mother-daughter relationship, came from Kona sir. We co-wrote the story with Girish, whose work I really liked. He is very good with dialogues,” says Ravi.

Mom

Mom

The trailer of Mom gives us a glimpse into the bitter-sweet relationship between the characters played by Sridevi and her teenage daughter Arya (essayed by Sajal Ali). Ravi was both intrigued and fascinated to explore the intricacies of mother-daughter relationship, which he terms a bond for life. Then, he thought of introducing a conflict in the bond to heighten the drama. “A conversation between Sridevi and Nawaz, in the trailer, goes: ‘God can’t be everywhere’. ‘That’s why he created a mother’, followed by the girl refusing to acknowledge her mother. These emotional conflicts are exciting in a story,” says Ravi.

Though Boney Kapoor was sold on to the script, it wasn’t a cakewalk to get Sridevi on board, says Ravi. “I went prepared with well worked out back-stories for each character. These back-stories may not make it to the film, but it describes who the characters are and why they behave the way they do. For example, I narrated how the couple met and married. All these details appealed to Sridevi. Being a mother of two daughters, she connected to the story well.”

Ravi calls Sridevi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Akshaye Khanna an amazing trio to work with. Ravi sketched different looks for Nawaz and the duo finalised on one. “It would take him three hours to get his makeup on each day,” says Ravi.

Nawaz’s character is inspired by people Ravi observed in Delhi. To get the accent right, Nawaz took inspiration from theatre and film actor Piyush Mishra. “He tweaked his voice and diction for the role,” adds Ravi.

Ravi wanted actors who’d express without talking much. “Unspoken words and silences can convey a lot more than dialogues,” he says and discloses that he chose Sajal Ali for her expressive eyes and commends her for an “effortless performance”. He’s all praise for Akshaye Khanna as well: “Actors normally read their own parts, not the entire script. Akshaye had a good grasp on the script and all the character sketches. That stems from an innate passion for the craft.”


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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 11:59:40 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/ravi-udyawar-emotional-conflicts-are-exciting-in-a-story/article19114160.ece