The people of Delhi beat the post-rain traffic jams to come out from their homes to attend the Delhi 100 Film Festival that kick-started on Saturday with director Rajshree Ojha’s Aisha. As part of the Hindustan Times initiative for the centenary celebrations of the Capital and organised by HT, the gala began with a conversation between our Assistant Editor Damini Purkayastha and Ojha about her Delhi-based directorial debut.
A regular shifter between the US and Mumbai, Ojha chose the Capital for “its beautiful blend of eastern and western” for her modern take on Jane Austen’s Victorian classic Emma.
“Delhi for me is a classic – a perfect blend of two worlds,” she said.
Dealing with a South Delhi girl, who is obsessed with her looks, clothes and matchmaking for others, Aisha stars actor Sonam Kapoor in the lead. Actors Ira Dubey, Amrita Puri and Abhay Deol star in pivotal roles.
However, bringing a slice of Delhi life on celluloid was not an easy task for the first timer, who revealed she had to let go of various scripted locations like the “Lodhi Gardens, India Habitat Centre, streets around Delhi and even some houses” due to permission hassles.
“It is a big challenge to get permission to shoot here,” Ojha rued, adding, “It’s pretty difficult. It was not easy.”
Not being from Delhi, Ojha informed the audience that a lot of research went behind her maiden project to bring out the authenticity of the culture in the city.
“I was sitting on this film for six years. I came to Delhi thrice to know the city better. It took about two years to come and see how the culture is here and how people react to things here,” she informed, before taking the seat with the audience to enjoy the show.
The festival was attended by both readers who won the HT contest for tickets to the event, as well as movie fans who bought the tickets at the window.