Hailing from a non-filmy background from the city of Pune, filmmaker Aditya Kripalani took his first step towards the world of films when he worked as an assistant director for the film 1920. Kripalani, who always loved writing, later post graduated from the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in screenwriting in 2004. After working as an advertising professional for several years, Kripalani made his first film Tikli and Laxmi Bomb in 2017. This independent film, which is available on Netflix, by Kripalani got rave reviews at quite a few film festivals. Kripalani is now back with his second independent film Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal which has recently been selected at the 17th Garden State Film Festival in New Jersey. In an interview with Nation Next, Aditya Kripalani speaks about his new film, his film Tikli and Laxmi Bomb, his idea of filmmaking and more.
Before you made your first film, you never had any connection in the film industry. How difficult was it for you to make you first film Tikli and Laxmi Bomb?
Before venturing into the film industry, I had written four novels. One of those novels was Tikli and Laxmi Bomb and I decided to make it into a film. It was the single most difficult thing I decided to do in my life! It was scary. Apart from producing the film, I really had to work very hard to direct it. It was based on a really different subject. Plus, we shot for 14 hours a day for 55 days! I was also involved in pretty much every process right from the beginning. From making the film to marketing it to creating a buzz around it, I was always involved. It’s because of this that I feel that now these things come easy to me. Even though Tikli and Laxmi Bomb was really difficult to make, I think it made me the happiest I can ever be! Also, the making of the film taught me a lot of things.
Tikli and Laxmi Bomb is a film, which revolves around the story of two sex workers. How did you do your research for the film?
To research for the film, I would pay money to the sex workers as a customer and then I would have just conversations with them! Each time I wanted to speak to a sex worker, I had to pay her the hours’ rate. But having these conversations wasn’t easy. You can’t just go and ask them questions for the film! Nobody there really cares about a film! During my research I found that many of these women are on social media and I depicted that in my film as well. They are ordinary people just like us.
Tell us about your new film Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal, which you have written, produced and directed.
Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal is my attempt to make men and women realize that both are basically really similar. The film is an effort towards gender equality and to spread a message that human behavior is the same irrespective of gender. The story of the film revolves around four women who have never met each other. Somehow, they get into a situation where they end up kidnapping a man. It is after the kidnapping that the women decide to teach the man how it feels like to be afraid of being raped, on a daily basis. The women decide to make an example out of the man.
The #MeToo movement has gained a lot of momentum in India. Against the backdrop of your latest film, what are your thoughts about the movement?
I think it’s a very important movement. Every time there has been a movement as big as this in the history of our country; its reflection has been visible in art in India. I think this movement has penetrated deeply into our country and we will see a lot of reflection in cinema and other art forms.
Making independent films takes a lot of effort financially and morally. You have produced both of your independent films. What’s the motivation behind making independent films?
I think filmmaking has the power to mass educate people. With films, you can actually pass on a really important message. The only trick is that you have to do it smartly keeping in mind the entertainment factor as well. Through films, you can convey whatever you want to. That is immense power! You not only have power to heal people but also to bring an actual change.
Both of your films have very interesting titles. Was it a conscious effort to keep such unconventional titles?
Not really! I think because I have an advertising background, such creative and unique titles come naturally to me!