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Shoojit Sircar says Delhi is not just India Gate and Lal Qila, it’s beyond

Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar, who has presented different aspects of the Capital in his films, says the city is much more than its iconic monuments.

bollywood Updated: Jun 19, 2018 11:47 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Shoojit Sircar,Varun Dhawan,October
Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar says he loves Delhi, where he spent his school and college days.

Delhiites who have watched the Varun Dhawan-starrer October, which released this April, would remember how filmmaker Shoojit Sircar romances Delhi on camera throughout the movie. We meet Sircar on yet another trip to the Capital, and he tells us with a big smile, “I love Delhi”.

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An alumnus of Delhi University’s Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Sircar recollects how Delhi has been his muse in almost all the films he has directed. “My writer Juhi (Chaturvedi) has lived in Delhi [too]. So, we placed October in Delhi. [But] my earlier films are also in Delhi, but a different kind of Delhi. Like Piku (2015) had a very CR Park kind of Delhi. Vicky Donor (2012) had CR Park and Lajpat Nagar – that’s another kind of Delhi. Pink (2016) had a very dark Delhi. So I thought I [need to show] this Delhi also that’s very poetic… like the IIT, the gardens of Delhi. A lot of people don’t know [about it].”

From the city parks where flowers flourish to the solitary lanes of Delhi-NCR, including Gurugram, the director has shown various facets of the city. “Delhi is not just India Gate and Lal Qila, its way beyond that. There are a lot of things that’s Delhi, which only a Dilliwalla can understand,” he laughs.

“That first shot [of October] in the mist and the train, the gardens... There are so many parks in Delhi, which the city is famous for; and they are really beautiful. Every colony has parks, specially the south of Delhi. So I wanted to explore that poetry in the film. And I’m happy that I managed it. And this flower (shiuli) is very common in all the parks. In Kolkata also I used to collect it. Even Juhi had the plant in her house, when she was in Lucknow. This poetry I wanted people to feel…” says Sircar.

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During his college days in the Capital, did he visit Delhi’s many parks? “Oh yeah,” he says, “I had a close friend of mine from college and school (Kendriya Vidyalaya, Andrews Ganj). His name was Dheeraj Wadhwa. We didn’t have a place to sit quietly and study. So there were many days when he would take me to Lodi Gardens, and we would spread a chadar (bed sheet) and sit there, and we would take out our tiffins and he would teach me maths, accounts and economics. The whole day, we would lie around and study.”

There were other parks in student Shoojit’s life, too. He recalls. “I lived in the south near Tughlaqabad. My father was in the Air Force station. I used to go to Tughlaqabad Fort, and there’s a huge city park there — a big city forest, near the ruins. They were so beautiful. So I have been to those parks.”

But only for studying? Sircar pauses, smiles and adds, “Yes, only for studying. When I got to Mumbai, I missed the Delhi parks and grounds.”

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First Published: Jun 19, 2018 11:42 IST