Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil: A Story on Modern Middle Class Couplesby Opinion Express October 23, 2018 0 comments
Director Aadish Keluskar’s Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil takes a look at the darker side of middle class Indians through a couple in Mumbai.
When one thinks of singer Mukesh’s Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil from the film Chhoti Bahen (1959) it paints a sad picture, of a cold world on the brink of ruin. Director Aadish Keluskar’s film with the same name also depicts a world that is hopeless, confused and the people are in a bewildered state of being. “I was listening to some song that reminded me of the Mukesh song with the same name. Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil, this is exactly what we are facing, we don’t know what we want and even if we have what we want,” he said.
He portrays the middle class Indian psyche through a couple in Mumbai having conversations and grappling with modern love and the state of the economy. For this, he believes, is what the truth is not the romantic cinema on screen. Keluskar’s world is a grey one where there is very little chances of white. “I don’t know if anyone is in the white area there are people in completely black area but I don’t think anybody is in white. I can’t say what every filmmaker should do but I try to find as much of the grey as possible,” he said.
This edgy “anti-romantic” film has been selected for the India Gold competition section at the 20th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival (October 25-November 1).
“The screenplay came to me like an attack. i wrote it in few days without stopping. The deliberate thing was after the first draft, ‘Did I want to make it into a film?’. That’s what I analysed for the second draft and realised that we have not seen such conflicts on the Indian screen coming from this strata of society. I felt that the least cinema can do is depict the unheard issues like cynicism and romanticism, Is there a political choice or is there an illusion of choice? What is the way forward when the economy is not doing that great for the aspirant class? Morality and the binary between neglecting the truth and lying, between which lies a thin line of taking a stand and being neutral — very basic conflicts we face on a daily basis,” he said.
As per the concept of confusion, he said that it lies deep within every single strata but the nature of the conflict differs on the surface level but at the core everything is same.
The city is an important part of the film but he did not want to use a montage to show it. “We wanted to show the city by delving deep into the character who live in the city. Through their psychology you will see the city,” he said.
The film is a commentary on the society and on the human condition. He portrayed the grey areas since nobody is able to follow any ideology or belief or set of principles. And the female protagonist was therefore the central character.
“She’s in a way the central character and that required a tremendous amount of focus. It is a conversational film which is shot in the long take. I told the actors not to improvise because of the kind of conditions we shot in — without permission and in 39 degree Celsius and where there was always the possibility of police telling us to stop. Often, the camera would bump into you or the other actor would forget the lines. For the female character, I was looking for a different sense of intelligence, someone who could remember the layers in each of the lines and know which one to show and not show. There was immense courage required to go through the torture, physical and sexual but Khushboo Upadhyay, who is also an FTII alum, like my wife and I, was unbelievable in her understanding and portrayal,” he said.
As an independent filmmaker he accepted the reality that workshops were not possible since that wouldn’t fit the budget. Instead, he went for line by line analysis with the actors separately and let them rehearse to build a rapport of a couple that had been together for a year.
The cruelty of their words and their actions are what he wanted to show. Despite the confidence that reflects in his voice about the message he wanted to give he doesn’t know how the audience will react. “A movie is where the director decides the effect of each scene and the movie audience watching is supposed to feel that in different degrees it. Even Karan Johar does it but a film is where everyone from the audience feels something different in different degrees. And as a filmmaker, I make sure that that level of freedom and interpretation is possible so that anyone can feel anything,” he concluded.
Writer: Asmita Sarkar
Courtesy: The Pioneer