Filmmaker and author Aditya Kripalani, an alumnus of FTII, has completed directing the film based on his third book "Tikli And Laxmi Bomb".
It is a story of two women who are into prostitution. The film has been shot in actual red light areas for authenticity. The movie features Chitrangada Chakraborty and Vibhavari Deshpande in the lead roles. It also features actors like Upendra Limaye playing the character of Mhatre, Suchitra Pillai playing Manda and Saharsh Shukla playing Mangatram Pichauri.
In an exclusive chat with International Business Times India, Aditya Kripalani spoke about his upcoming film, the most difficult part in making the movie, and what can be done to better the lives of sex workers.
How did the idea of moulding Tikli And Laxmi Bomb into a screenplay come to your mind?
We wanted to get a better reach for the story as we felt people nowadays don't really read books. So we thought to make it into a movie so it reaches to more number of people. It's a different medium completely. So everything that we express in a book and a movie is very different from one another.
Was it difficult for you to shoot the film at the brothels?
When we were shooting for the film, it was like the whole theatre was placed into the real locations where the prostitution business happens. It was a different experience altogether for both the actors, the crew and every other person on the sets. It was something that they really enjoyed doing.
What was the most challenging part for you in this film?
I think, telling your story in writing is a completely different from narrating it on the celluloid. So translating all the emotions and expressions on to the screen was the most difficult part for me as a filmmaker. The way you enact it on the screen, the feel, the aura is completely different. I wanted to make people enjoy as much as they did while reading the book.
Were Chitrangada and Vibhavari Deshpande your first choice to portray Tikli and Laxmi?
Well, we definitely did a series of auditions. It's not like I met them and thought they were perfect. So they were one of the options. And based on that, the ones who topped the auditions got the role in the film. For Tikli, we auditioned about 35 actors and for Laxmi, we only auditioned Vibhavari.
Many movies were made on sex workers before like Mandi and Chameli. How different is your film from others?
Our film is very different because it's a revolution in the sex trade. It's about what women do to change the entire system. It is properly co-operative and coordinated effort to change the system in and out and start their own co-operative where they come together, gather money to bring the right change in the system and try to solve the problem themselves. Like a government of the people, by the people, for the people. I don't think anybody has spoken about it like this before.
Do you think you have done justice to your book through the film?
We have tried our best to put together all the nuances of the characters through our story in the film. The story is something that will make you feel good about the people who are into this prostitution business. So let's see how it goes.
What are the key takeaways from your film?
I think we just don't have to accept the situation that the society has given you and you can change it if you really want to. That's all.
What would you do if you completely fail to achieve what you desired with this film?
I will just make another film that I will be happening next year. It's like what if you wake up to one day badly, you would wake up the next day.
Since you have spent some time with real sex workers, tell us what you think about this parallel world and what steps can be taken for improving their lives?
I just think it should be legalised so that they can go to a police station like us. Because now they cannot even complain if anyone does anything because they are treated illegal entities. They are not allowed to practice this thing (prostitution) in the first place. As a society, we should accept that it exists and make it legal like any other profession. Nobody does it by choice. They do it because there is no other option. So that is something which is a much deeper issue. The first step we should take is to legalise it.