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In dreamland

Storyteller Madhureeta Anand

Storyteller Madhureeta Anand  



Director Madhureeta Anand on “Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aye”



When a documentary filmmaker switches gears to be in the dreamland called Bollywood, one inevitably thinks of one more talent falling to the ‘dumbing down’ syndrome. Tell this to Madhureeta Anand and she bursts into an infectious laughter. “Actually it is quite dumb…but please don’t quote me.”

Jokes apart, Madhureeta, who is known for her telling tales on Kumbh Mela and Baul singers, says at one point she began to realise that with documentaries she could go only this far and not beyond. “Funding is still a big issue with documentaries in India and with foreign funding you end up depicting either seedy India or exotic India for the West. Also, the way I was going about my subjects – reconstructions and all – the fictional element was gradually increasing. Initially, when one of my producers in the UK told me about it, I felt offended but when I thought about it I realised he was right.”

Pure fiction

Result: Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye, a PVR Pictures production, its second after the much acclaimed Taare Zameen Par. “The film is pure fiction drawn out of reality. And my education in non-fiction has taught me how to keep the setting real. It is the story of a middle class housewife (Raima Sen) who loses her true identity in the routine of family chores.”

So what’s the dream all about? “She discovers her true self through her dream man. Whatever she aspires for or whenever she needs something desperately, he pops up to help her out. It’s a way to keep the surface light when the crux is serious.” Well, sugar coating bitter pills is in fashion and here Randeep Hooda as the dream man is supposed to play out that part. “From Amitabh Bachchan to Zorro, he has played all, 18 in total, but the good thing is I told him not to copy them. I wanted him to play the characters his way, and he has delivered.”

Madhureeta clarifies not to expect a usual Bollywood tale. “She doesn’t end up a Shilpa Shetty by the end,” she quips. Similarly, she opted for a dream male and not female to create contrast. “I wanted to show something she is not and then a housewife’s time-pass is television. So many characters are drawn from films and serials.”

The film is shot in New Delhi’s Hauz Khas area, where Madhureeta has lived for years. “I know the place inside out and that’s why I have been able to create reality. Many times sets designers are not able to get the detailing right because they have not been part of the milieu. I feel it is crucial for story telling.” Here her documentary film training also helps. “I am so used to doing all the things myself that I end up contributing in all the departments. Also, I am not averse to improvisation. If the actors wanted to take a little liberty from the written word or the technical crew wanted to experiment something on the spot, I didn’t get hassled.”

But no training in documentaries could teach you coping up with Friday jitters. “Absolutely, I am feeling nervous because so much money is riding on the film. It is no longer just about my creative satisfaction alone. Still I am willing to stay.”

ANUJ KUMAR

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