Writer-Director Garima: 'Deepika Padukone Once Said That Her Chemistry With Ranveer Singh Built With Ramleela Dialogues' | EXCLUSIVE

In this exclusive interview, writers-turned-directors Siddharth-Garima address the criticism faced by director Sandeep Reddy Vanga for Animal, their debut directorial venture Dukaan, and Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh's crackling chemistry on the sets of Ramleela.
Writer-Director Garima: 'Deepika Padukone Once Said That Her Chemistry With Ranveer Singh Built With Ramleela Dialogues' | EXCLUSIVE

Writer-Director Garima: 'Deepika Padukone Once Said That Her Chemistry With Ranveer Singh Built With Ramleela Dialogues' | EXCLUSIVE

In an exclusive interaction with zoOm, Siddharth-Garima and Monika Panwar delve into various aspects of their movie Dukaan, including the theme of surrogacy, character development, and the casting decisions made to enrich the narrative. Monika discusses her role as Jasmine and also talks about the similarities between Dukaan and Mimi.
Our conversation also touches on Sikandar Kher’s casting, who's chosen for his subdued personality that complements Monika’s vibrant character. The directors, Siddharth and Garima, share insights about their journey in filmmaking without direct inputs from but guided by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The directors also talk about exploring the portrayal of Gujarati culture in Dukaan: differentiating it from previous depictions and emphasising authenticity in representing the 90s to 2000s era.
In this exclusive interview, Siddharth-Garima also address the criticism faced by director Sandeep Reddy Vanga for Animal, defending his portrayal of complex characters.
Edited excerpts from our interview with the first-time directors:

Monika: Weren’t you skeptical playing a surrogate mother in Dukaan?

No, I questioned them. Why are you taking me? I mean, because I was full of doubt and initially you never get project like this, you know such a huge (film) and where you are going to carry the film on your shoulder. So, yes, and then, of course, I started preparing for this thing (referring to her role).
This is a story about this girl who is very far away from motherhood, and then, how she embraces her motherly instincts and how, during the whole process, we talk about surrogacy wherein she encounters different experiences.

Siddharth-Garima: Why was Sikander Kher chosen for the role in Dukaan?

Sikander is a brilliant actor. There is something about him which is very subdued, so, such characters, with what he's playing next to Monika, who has a very colorful and vibrant character, mixes with somebody who's a little subtle and yet he's somebody who smiles and who lets her be who she is! Sikandar fit the bill perfectly with that and they set off each other very beautifully plus it had to be somebody who's double her age. Monica is really young and he's much older so that chemistry was working very nicely for us.

Did you take any inputs from Sanjay Leela Bhansali for Dukaan?

Siddharth: No, not really inputs but he's been there as a guiding light. He is a person who we connect to on a on a spiritual, emotional and on a creative level.
Garima: When we decided to make a film he's like, 'baby, just go ahead' and do this and don't worry about the world. He touched the coconut that we had broken on day one of our shoot. He’s been calling when the release is so much closer (now) that it's just enough for us to have his blessings and his support like that, so he's been around.

Have you adopted any qualities of SLB while working on Dukaan?

Siddharth: I won't say yes because you cannot really copy anybody. We don't have that kind of luxury also we had that very limited time to shoot a particular sequence of course there has to be a fine balance of art and you know costume and everything all departments but not at the same but we don't have like like she said we didn't have the luxury we had only 38 days to shoot this film it was a budget film.
Garima: In our case, whatever was given was burnt and if it was extinguished in the middle of the shot then the film will look as beautiful as it was. So it's like that but there are things that are automatically a part of your system when you work with a renowned filmmaker like him, but there cannot be any comparisons because his budgets are way more luxurious and we are people who work very frugally.

Dukaan is compared to Kriti Sanon’s Mimi, especially because of the surrogacy narrative. What do you’ve to say about it?

Siddharth: I feel the commercial surrogacy aspect (is what) I don't think we touched upon. It was a story of a particular character, which was also a remake of a Marathi film, so it's very different from our film because the commercial surrogacy, which is a 1300-crore industry based out of Gujarat, has never been done on Indian cinema so I think we touch upon a very different aspect of surrogacy so it's very different. Yeah, but the comparisons are legit. I mean, whatever people see superficial, they do compare. But, as I think once they will also watch (the film), they will themselves see the difference and they'll comprehend this thing and they'll come to know more about surrogacy.

Siddharth-Garima: You’ve won audience’s hearts with the songs in Animal, especially Satranga featuring Rashmika Mandanna and Ranbir Kapoor. Tell us more about it...

Garima: I'll be honest, Satranga ka jo mukhda that was written, the first part was not written for Ranbir Kapoor. The song was written to a tune that Shreyas had sent to Siddharth. Sometimes, just write a song because it's in tune and this song was then sung at a certain Diwali party in front of Sandeep Reddy Vanga (and) he fell in love with it. He is a South Indian director who understands Hindi lyrics very well in the music and he said, 'I really like this. I think I'm going to use it'. When he told us the situation of his film, and played it on a scene to us, is when we wrote the antara... that whole part came along.

Sandeep Reddy Vanga has been criticised for showcasing male chauvinism and being against feminism via his movies. What you both have to say about it?

Siddharth: We don't agree with the kind of generic opinion that has generated around Sandeep Reddy Vanga and his films because it's to each his own. He is making those characters he's not really making characters out of his or based on his own personality. He is creating a fictional character, let's keep it at that and I'm sure feminism is far more stronger than one film coming and challenging. It has to stand on its own feet, find its own feet in the society and there is a different a battle of feminism. It is a very different battle (and) it cannot get affected by one movie, right? And if it is that fragile, then okay let's go back to the drawing board.
Garima: A filmmaker with a strong voice is always criticised by a certain section of the society just because he makes very strong male characters, should not make women insecure about who they are. I don't find any of his female characters problematic. I don't think there's anything wrong with them. I always find a reason to justify, you know, in my mind to know that it is okay. This is why this character is behaving like that because if you write, you understand why this happened and so, I feel it's a useless criticism and he's a misunderstood feminist. He is a feminist. He treats his crew, the women on his team, very well. So, I think it's all a sham.

Ramleela recently completed 10 years, tell us about working with Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone?

Garima: Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone were (an) outstanding combination to work with. Ranveer is a very process-driven actor. He completely immersed himself in the role of Ram and yet, he was quite a naughty person to be around on set. Deepika and his chemistry grew from the sets. Deepika, of course, very nicely said once ki 'chemistry toh lines mein thi, script mein thi' toh we would like to believe we are responsible for that relationship to happen partly. They also got married on the same date as Ramleela (and) so, I'm sure we played a part there and many congratulations to them. Of course, Deepika can finally say to Ranveer now, "Main Tumhaare bacche ki maa banne wali hoon."
End of Article
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