Director Rajshree Ojha’s first independent film, Chaurahen (Crossroads), that she made before her Bollywood debut Aisha (2010), is finally set to release on March 16. “The film is now releasing in Delhi Gurgaon, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore,” says Ojha.
Heaving a sigh of relief, Ojha maintains that though she was ready with the film, the market was not open to independent ventures. “Language was also a big issue. It’s an English film, made with the idea that it was going to be an indie subject. Thankfully, PVR cinemas (multiplex chain) took interest in it, and decided to release it,” says Ojha, whose Aisha, starring Abhay Deol and Sonam Kapoor, fared well at the box-office.
Chaurahen stars Zeenat Aman, Victor Banerjee, Roopali Ganguly, Soha Ali Khan and Shayan Munshi in pivotal roles. Ojha says, “It’s an urban film about relationships. Set in three cities, the film shows a Mumbai couple going through ups and downs in their relationship, an extramarital affair in Kolkata, and a father coming to terms with his son’s death in Kochi.” The film is based on short stories penned by author Nirmal Verma. “They were independent short stories, which we intertwined to make a single story,” she reveals.
Interestingly, Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter Kiera has an important role in the film. “She is playing Lea, who has an extramarital affair in Kolkata,” says the director.
Ask how she got Kiera on board, and Ojha says, “She had watched my first film Moment (1999) which I made when as a student in America. It fetched me a Student Academy Award (an Oscar competition for student films initiated by Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences). She showed an interest in working with me and I told her that I was shooting it in India. She had no issue with that, so I sent her the script, which she liked.”