Though she has directed only two movies, Gauri Shinde (right) has proved her prowess as a director. Both her directorial ventures, English Vinglish (2012) and Dear Zindagi (2016; DZ), brought certain issues to the fore and also became box-office hits. Relaxing in Goa post the success of her last release, starring Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan, she is in no hurry to start working on her next. Gauri also hopes people don’t look at women directors or the movies they make as “special cases”. Excerpts from the interview.
It is great to write about your own gender, as you have more to tell and you feel compelled to tell stories from that perspective.
Both your movies were about women. Was it a conscious decision to make women-centric films?
No. It was subconscious, perhaps. In fact, Kiara’s character in DZ (played by Alia Bhatt) could easily have been a man as the problems she had were universal and not gender-centric. However, I thought it would be better to look at it from a woman’s point of view. It is great to write about your own gender, as you have more to tell and you feel compelled to tell stories from that perspective. Moreover, how many stories are from a woman’s point of view in the industry? No one questions when there are male-centric films every week. I want that day to come when no one questions women-centric films, and it becomes as normal as other films.
Kaira wouldn't have been Kaira without these bunch of goofs! Watch the off screen madness here: https://t.co/zOu7yNlGfX— Gauri Shinde (@gauris) December 6, 2016
A film can’t change society as it’s too lofty a goal, but you can help people look at life in a different way.
Both your films have had strong messages for the audience. Is that also subconscious?
No. I didn’t start writing [my film] with a social message [in mind], as I am not an activist. I wanted to express a story. It happened to be about a subject I believed in and wanted to tell the world. Many young girls struggle in life like Kiara. Many people responded saying how DZ has impacted their lives, and how they didn’t think therapy was needed for a family member, but later they got help. If my story helps one or two people, then it’s worth it. Then you feel you have done something right. That isn’t something that one sets out to do. A film can’t change society as it’s too lofty a goal, but you can help people look at life in a different way.
Farah Khan objects to the term ‘women directors’. What do you think about it?
It is equivalent to women-centric films. We need more and enough number of [women] directors to not make us sound like we are minority, or as if we are a special case and a category.
Watch this...so much fun with these two Zindagi Bahut Dear ho gayi https://t.co/IPMCtM1rqY— Gauri Shinde (@gauris) November 29, 2016
I have no ulterior motives in life other than films and travelling. There is no complication in my life.
In an interview, Alia said that you have a unique voice in the industry. Do you agree?
It feels nice to receive a compliment. I don’t mind being that person (laughs). I am glad people feel so, as I wouldn’t want to be part of a crowd. I don’t care about anything else. I don’t care about fame and ‘where I want to be’ in terms of ambition. I don’t want to be the greatest film-maker, or compete with. anyone. I have no ulterior motives in life other than films and travelling. There is no complication in my life (laughs). I hope I can keep it simple.
Nothing yet. I am thinking of different ways to relax and travel. Right now, I am in Goa. It is my go-to place. Before I make plans for a big trip, I want to chill here. I want to travel in India this year, maybe first to Pondicherry, and later to Europe.