Raja Mukerji tells us about his short film which is winning accolades at film festivals and won approval from his sister and brother-in-law Aditya Chopra
Rani Mukerji Chopra’s brother Raja Ram Mukerji has made a 28-minute short, Sab Theek Hai, starring Roja actress Madhoo (called the same in the film) and spreads the message of women empowerment. The actress is currently acting in the TV serial Aarambh. Interestingly, some of the characters in Raja’s film (including the protagonist Madhoo) have been inspired largely by the women in his life – his mother Krishna, sister Rani Chopra and wife Jyoti. The short film will be released after a premier and screening on July 27.
In a tete-e-tete Raja Ram tells us how the women in his life have inspired his characters in the film, what the film is about and when he will direct a full-length feature film…
What made you direct Sab Theek Hai?
The reason behind to make this short, 28-minute film is because of the kind of awareness or message we are trying to spread. It’s about women empowerment and it’s also a women-centric film. I am very intrigued with these shorts as you can impart a great message within a lesser time, be informative, have a story and not be preachy. People today are ignorant of a lot of things which they are not bothered about and are of the chalta hai toh chalne do types. My film is about how a daughter can stand by her mother till the end. I want to do away with old-fashioned concepts of women not earning as much as men or becoming successful. My wife Jyoti loves acting so I have always encouraged her to do that even post marriage. Madhoo’s character is a sensitive one who later becomes strong and capable of overcoming any challenges.”
Madhoo’s character has been inspired from my sister Rani Mukerji. The characters, especially the way Madhoo is a lot – is a lot like my sister Rani. Rani is a go-getter, strong, independent, sensitive, emotional, and yet always there to support her family whenever they need her. Madhoo is like that. Certain elements have even been inspired from Jyoti who has gone through a lot of things with me and been my support system through it all. Basically, there’s a lot qualities of the women in my life from my mother, to my sister and wife are there in the characters, which I have tried to depict in my film.
My entire family has seen the film. Jyoti, my mom and Rani have loved the film. After she saw it she called me and said, ‘Dada it really deserves awards.’ I showed her after I got a lot acclaim in different film festivals. I didn’t show it earlier as I wanted to achieve something before I showed her. Even my brother-in-law Aditya Chopra also saw it and he also liked the film. My dad was crying after he saw the film and was very emotional about it as he liked the concept and the way I treated it simply. On July 27 I am having a premier and screening of the film and then we will release the film on a digital platform, The Shortcuts and YouTube, after 9 pm, on the same day.
Was Madhoo always your first choice?
Yes she was always my first choice. I wanted Madhoo because I loved her in Roja when I saw it on cable and while I have seen her other films, in Roja she came across to me strongly. She is an amazing actress with an expressive face. She can look innocent like ek masoom si ladki and yet tough enough to fight when need be. In Roja she was docile and soft in the beginning but later when she goes through trauma later she becomes tough. I never knew Madhoo from earlier, but Jyoti did so she introduced me to her at a party. After I finished my scripting I approached Madhoo and asked her if she wanted to get back to films as she had taken a sabbatical from acting. She told me that she wanted to but didn’t know how. I explained to her the importance of a short film and that I wanted to send it to festivals and then narrated her, the story. Madhoo immediately said yes.
After directing shorts, now is directing a feature film your next step?
Yes, my final goal is that. But while I do want to direct a feature film at some time in my life, I am going very slow right now and just taking baby steps to achieve that. I don’t want to just jump in as I am not in a hurry. I want to make a few more short films. I have finished the scripting of my next short.