East meets West in expatriate Gujarati's film

Published on Mar 05, 2005 01:04 PM IST

A New York-based filmmaker has chosen her native state as the setting for her first feature film, The Memsahib.

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HT Image
PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Ahmedabad

Kings, colonial rulers, a modern-day Indian-British marriage and a camera that shifts between the 1850s and 2005 - you will find all this and more in expatriate Gujarati filmmaker Kruti Majmudar's film.

The New York-based filmmaker has chosen her native state as the setting for her first feature film, "The Memsahib", which has East-meets-West as its theme.

"I got the idea of making a film around here when I first visited the 'vav' (step-well) in Adalaj in 1993," Majmudar told IANS.

Last month, she was in Adalaj village, about 25 km from here, with her crew filming "The Memsahib".

Born in Rajkot, the principal city of the Saurashtra region, Majmudar migrated to the US with her parents when she was two years old.

Trained as an architect at Syracuse University, she started her cinematic career by designing film sets. Fascinated by the medium, she took up production and editing assignments, leading to her own films.

The young artiste has about seven short films to her credit, apart from a number of film scripts.

"The Memsahib", however, is her first full-length feature film and she has taken up the responsibilities of scriptwriter, director and editor as well.

"After Adalaj, I visited Jasdan and also the wildlife sanctuary of Hingolgadh. While the two places have little in common, I thought the two could be linked in a story with the backdrop of colonial rule.

"I had a lot of background reading on that historic period, but I did further research on those times. I was visualising a film revolving around the royalty, the entry of colonial rulers and their interaction," she said.

Majmudar showed the resulting script to Dana Offenbach who agreed to produce it.

The shooting for the film, with dialogues in English and a couple of garba sequences, was completed last month.

It hopes to get a worldwide release in October, while it will mostly target film festivals rather than commercial screenings.

The film is split between two time frames - dealing with 2005 as well as with 1850.

It shows Jayant Rathod, a Gujarati student in Britain, falling in love with a British woman and marrying her. The two go to his native place in 2005.

It also shows a king, married to a British woman, trying to bring other kings and the British authorities together in building a railway bridge in the 1850s.

The film explores the interaction of the East and the West before and after independence, Majmudar said.

The lead pair is played by Parveen Dabas of "Monsoon Wedding" fame and the Britain-based actor Emily Hamilton. Popular TV serial star Swetta Keswani of "Des Mein Niklla Hoga Chand" plays a Kathiawadi princess.

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