ANI Photo | “I kept writing for 10-12 years”: Kiran Rao on her comeback as director with ‘Laapataa Ladies’

After treating the audience with ‘Dhobi Ghat’, the ace director and producer Kiran Rao, is again back with another project titled ‘Laapataa Ladies’. As Rao is busy in promoting her film, she recently got candid about making a comeback as a director and what makes the story set in 2001 still relatable and relevant.
She told ANI, “My struggle continued. I kept writing for 10-12 years. I was writing stories for films, I was writing stories for the OTT series as well. But for some reason, I wasn’t completely satisfied with them.”
“When ‘Dhobi Ghat’ was released, I became a mother. I was very busy and enjoying being a mother. I don’t know how the years went by. But I kept writing. I worked in the films of Aamir Khan Productions. I also contributed to the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival. But the desire to make a film was left behind. Because I was not able to complete the script.”
She continued, “In 2018, Aamir got this script. He was a judge in a screenwriting competition. And he liked the story a lot. This story won the second prize. Writer Biplab Goswami wrote it. Then I thought, yes, this is my story. But it’s been six years since it was made.”
The story of the movie revolves around two newly-wed brides who get separated from their families and how a slip-up sets many things right. In a very subtle way, using the elements of humour and hope, Kiran has attempted to address a strong social issue and women’s empowerment
However, the original story was much realistic and dark though her film comes with the elements of comedy and hope.
As she explained, ” When we met Sneha Desai as a writer, I felt that this could be done because the story was very good, which was written by Bipalab, but it was very realistic and I felt that the fun should come because this is a kind of satirical situation that two girls get separated and then what happens next. How can this be changed? And then what happens? There is a twist in the story. Sneha Desai brought the fun in the twist very well. And I will give her full credit. Biplab had also written a very good story. Sneha did this and Divyanidhi Sharma created the character of Shyam Manohar(played by Ravi Kishan).
“So the challenge was that the topics on which we have to discuss to change people’s perspective, we should do it under the table. We should do it through comedy. So that you don’t feel that someone is giving you a lecture standing and someone is explaining something to you. It’s not something to explain. The audience understands. Whatever you want to say, you don’t have to explain it. If your story touches them, then they understand. So actually, while writing, a lot of us we were conscious that the less we kept preaching, the less we kept lecturing. But I felt that the comedy element was very important. Because people then understand what you want to convey very easily, ” she added.
‘Laapata Ladies’ is set in 2001 Madhya Pradesh, a time when mobile phones were precious and the internet and technology had not made everything easily accessible. But, she feels that the story is still relatable. made. “I think this story will touch people’s hearts as emotions and dreams have no age.”
On how she decided about the locations, the director shared, “So, we saw a lot of recce tapes from the villages, because, as I said, it was the time of Covid, so we couldn’t travel that much to find them. So, from everywhere, from Bihar, UP, Delhi, MP we saw a lot of recce tapes in Maharashtra as well. So, we thought that we were getting a lot of locations together in MP. They are not that far away from Bhopal. Their shooting infrastructure is very good. The government and tourism support the film industry a lot. And we got to see very beautiful villages that haven’t changed that much in the last 20-25 years. As you have seen, it’s the story of 2001.”
“So, we also had that requirement that we don’t get a very solid house in that village. So, where there is a beautiful mud house of India, they should be there. A simplicity, a beauty, where the fields are behind the house. It’s not that there are thousands of acres of fields, but someone is living in a bungalow. We needed that kind of atmosphere that we got in MP. And we did the train shoots in Maharashtra. Train stations, we shot them in Nashik district,” the director added.
The film stars Ravi Kishan, Pratibha Ranta, Sparsh Shrivastav, and Nitanshi Goel.
Talking about the casting of the film, and working with new as well as established names, Kiran shared, “It always comes with a challenge to work with new stars but to hire new people, you have to balance the equation. You have to keep your project within a certain size, being realistic, and then you can be free in this project. And we both felt, Aamir and I, that if the actors are completely new to this, who fit this character perfectly, then you(the audience) will believe this world in some way, and you will understand this world. You won’t think, how is this possible? You know, you will start flowing with this story. So, because of Aamir’s faith and sharp planning and design casting happened.”
Presented by Jio Studios, ‘Laapataa Ladies’ is directed by Kiran Rao and produced by Aamir Khan and Jyoti Deshpande.
‘Laapataa Ladies’ is a story set in 2001 in rural India about two young brides who get separated during a train journey and what happens when Kishan, a police officer, takes it upon himself to probe the missing case.
The film received a standing ovation during its screening at the Toronto International Film Festival.
‘Laapataa Ladies’ is produced by a team that has collaborated for such hits as ‘Delhi Belly’, ‘Dangal’, and ‘Peepli Live’.
The film has been produced under the banner of Aamir Khan Productions and Kindling Productions, with the scripting by Biplab Goswami.
Sneha Desai wrote the screenplay and dialogue, while Divyanidhi Sharma jotted down the additional lines.
‘Laapataa Ladies’ will hit the theatres on March 1.

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