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“I wrote it from a place of pure heart,”  Tahira Kashyap  On Sharmajee Ki Beti



Sharmajee Ki Beti

There is  much more  to  Tahira Kashyap than being an actor’s wife. Her  feature-film debut Sharmajee Ki Beti demonstrated as assured, sassy filmmaking voice.

Tahira  decided  to direct Sharmajee Ki Beti after  her  first short  film.  “I think it was right after my first short film Toffee and it got a lot of love at a lot of film festivals  and I wanted to write more. I wrote Sharmajee Ki Beti’s script and along with that, while that was being pitched and that was in the process of getting made, I wrote more and more scripts.I could have actually gone for those, but this is the one that I always knew that I want to make my debut feature with  Sharmajee Ki Beti . I wrote it from a place of pure heart. It was not corrupted with the commercial viability aspect and to write your protagonists in such a way that they belong to a certain age group for them to be watchable on screen. All of that, all of these notions were not there in my head, in my mind. The only thing was I wanted to tell the most authentic, credible, sweet stories of five women belonging to different age groups. There are two 13-year-olds, there’s one in her 20s and then there’s also one in her late 30s and early 40s and I also wanted to sort of convey that women across different phases of their life,  they exist and they still have compelling, beautiful, lovely stories to tell. It was a challenge, but nonetheless, I wanted this to be my first ever film.

Tahira faced  several challenges while making Sharmajee Ki Beti. “It took time because of the biggest challenge being that it’s based on women, very honestly.There were lockdowns after lockdowns and there was a personal setback, but one thing I was very sure of was that I have to see this film, see the light of the day, no matter how long it takes. And I’m just so grateful to the universe and all the beautiful collaborators that I have found in this journey who actually shared the same vision that I did for my script without telling me to add a male protagonist or add a 20-year-old love story or some such weird things, which I was thrown at but luckily those people fell out of the journey. So I’m very grateful to Applause, to Ellipsis, and to Prime Video to sort of believe in this film. There’s lots that I wanted to say with Sharmajee Ki Beti, it’s set in a very slice-of-life, humorous kind of language.There’s no lecture-bazi happening. the slice-of-life world stays the same.And when it comes to women, I think there have not been enough stories, so there are different and more issues that need to be covered,but all set with tongue-in-cheek, and all set with a tonality which is very palatable and which will make you smile.”

  Recently,  Kiran Rao had a success in Laapata Ladies.Kiran feels bonded  with Kiran  “Oh, very much. We might not be chatting, meeting, messaging each other, but I feel that whenever any one of us has a film, we all reach. So I was there at her screening and it was such a beautiful, such a beautiful film.And let’s sort of give credit here. It’s not just because she’s a female filmmaker. She is a prolific filmmaker.She is a great filmmaker who’s made a great film. And I’m so glad it’s getting so much appreciation and it’s being watched so many times over and over again. It’s just so lovely.”

Why a paucity of female directors in our industry “That’s actually one question that I should be asking the world and they should be answerable to us. In fact, this is the question that journalists should pose. A lot of producers and a lot of filmmakers and financiers who give their money and bet their money on the talent behind the camera as well.Because had it been up to me, I really wish it’s a 50-50 person representation, if not more. And that’s the ideal world that I would like to have. And if we achieve that, it’s beneficial for us as audiences also because you get exposed to a variety of cinema, through different lenses being used to direct a scene in a film. There’ll be different narratives. It’ll be very enjoyable. There’ll be a plethora of storytelling techniques, point of views happening. So it’ll be very enjoyable for the audiences. I have the same question. I do want to know. I really wish that there was a time when we had equal numbers.

 Tahira confesses  being a mother , wife and filmmaker all at once is  easy. “You know, I need to say it is a guilt that you have.I will not deny it. It’s very difficult.Even though you’re working at the back of the mind,  you’re also thinking about your kids, about your home. But somehow men do not have that sort of guilt and that sort of baggage. So I have requested many other journalists on my behalf that whenever they are interviewing any male actors or any male counterparts, they must drive home this point and keep asking them again and again, how do you balance your work life, when you have a family back at home? Till the time they don’t start feeling guilty and start taking ownership. I think you’ll probably contribute to sort of equality in a better way. As of now, for me, when it comes to me, I’m enjoying every aspect of my life. I enjoy working, I also enjoy my home, my family, my kids. Yes, the responsibility is a little skewed, but I’m also hoping for a day when there is parity at this front as well.”

  Tahira has miles  to go before she quits.  “I really want to do a lot of cinema. I really want to make a lot of films and I really want to touch different genres each and every time. This time it was comedy, drama, slice of life. Next, I really want to do something diametrically opposite. I want to go into thriller, dark comedy, you know, a different space altogether. And I really want to explore that as well. So lots and lots I want to do, lots I have written. I’m also working with Guneet  Monga on my next one and there’s more talks with other producers for other projects as well, but more on this when we’re closer to it being a reality.”

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