Lajmi doesn?t call herself prolific

Ace director Kallpana Lajmi feels she has not done much in her three decades in the industry. Row over Chingaari | View pics
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Updated on Feb 18, 2006 02:09 PM IST
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None | ByHt Style, Mumbai

It is director Kallpana Lajmi’s 32nd year in the film industry but she says she has not been as prolific as she would like to have been.

"Raising finance for my kind of films has always been a problem but I have carried on regardless of everything," explains the maker of movies like Rudaali  and Darmiyan. Her new film Chingaari  (releasing today), starring Sushmita Sen, Mithun Chakraborty and Anuj Sawhney, is set in a village "which could be anywhere in Bihar or UP.

Sen plays a prostitute, Basanti. The film also features a village priest, Bhuvan Panda (Chakraborty), who commits atrocities on women, and a simple postman, Chandan (Sawhney), who leads a crusade with Basanti against Panda. Says Lajmi, "Women, especially those in Bihar, UP, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, go through the worst. The story was written by Bhupen Hazarika some 15 years ago and we reworked it."

A still from Kalpana Lajmi-directed Chingaari.

On working with Sen and Chakraborty, she says, "Sushmita is pure magic. She is a dynamic intellectual and needs to be convinced of what she’s doing. I think my script convinced her completely, which is why she submitted herself to me. As for Mithun


, he’s a veteran, a self-contained actor who once told Sushmita, 'You will probably never get a meatier role than this, so don’t lose this chance.'”

However, Lajmi has a few bones to pick with Sawhney. His statements in the press about a liplock scene with Sen had the director and leading lady seeing red. Lajmi’s plans of publicising the film were jeopardised as Sen refused to forgive Sawhney. "For someone who’s just a couple of films old, to have made statements like that, trying to hijack the film and making it out to be some kind of sleazy fare was totally unacceptable to both of us."


is co-produced by Lajmi and Vikas Sahni.

Lajmi says that though her films are always pitted against Rs 25-50 crore biggies, "there is always a discerning audience that is drawn to my films".

Kalpana's filmography

Chingari (2006) 


Daman (2001) 

Darmiyan (1997) 

Rudaali (1993)

Ek Pal

While her last two films -


(on marital rape) and Kyon? (on youth violence) — didn’t go down too well with audiences,


, with its stars, could tip the balance in Lajmi’s favour. "I disagree that




? didn’t do well.


subject of marital violence did find acceptance with a lot of women activists and those who went through it. I guess that was my biggest victory. The Mumbai critics, on the other hand, didn’t like


?, while those even in Bengal felt it was a fine film."

Finally, what makes Lajmi keep going, despite the ups and downs? She laughs. "Eleven months of depression during the making of the film - all that running from pillar to post to raise money, chasing stars etc - and one month of elation when the film is set for re lease makes me want to do it again and again. That’s the only thing which keeps me going.”

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