Ghar- An experience of building homes
We were very excited when we read the brief for Coldwell Banker’s film contest. It gave us an opportunity to make something close to our hearts that would represent our community and traditions. Whilst brainstorming, we talked about our childhood experiences, delving into our various backgrounds. Vishwesh and I belong to different cultures, he is Marathi and I am Gujarati; which are actually not so different. Vishwesh lives in the suburbs of Mumbai where kite flying day transforms the landscape. So what was Uttrayan for me was Makarsankranti for him and we both knew the significance of that festival in our respective cultures. When we were talking about flying kites as kids, I told him how we had this spot on our terrace where we used to fix the spool when we didn’t have anyone else to hold it for us. We came up with many such concepts and sent them for grant application; but they were all rejected, as the brand required something light hearted and more personal.
So it was back to the drawing board and I began to try out a new approach… a voiceover from a woman about things in her house which make it a home. The different scenes in the film are insights I got from my interaction with different people over the past few years, mainly a friend’s mother, Sushma Thakkar. She confided, how when they moved to their new house she was perplexed on what to buy and how to set up a house because till then she had lived in a joint family; never had to take decisions and no one really asked for her opinion. We then embellished this with special touches from our childhood memories like the corners in our house where as kids we would mark our heights.
While thinking about moments with special significance, I remembered how a friend of mine told me he loved pressing the paddle of an old sewing machine while his grandmum sewed - the sewing sound kindled nostalgia in me too - we had this old machine and in summers my aunt would stitch beautiful things on it. As we wove in all these cherishable moments, we realized that a global connect was needed. Our film was primarily going to be viewed by people in the west and since Diwali & Namaste enjoy maximum recall abroad, we decided to use them in the opening and closing scenes. Another ingredient to make our brew, nice and frothy: sprinkling Bollywood filminess and a modern, easy interpretation of an old tradition. This took shape in the form of the first sequence where the bride comes to her new house. I strongly wanted to convey that how we never refer to our home, as “My home”, but it’s always “Our home” as Gujaratis would say “Aapdu ghar” and not “Maru ghar”. This laid the setting for the concluding part with the woman asking her parents when will they come home, with an emotion-filled, “Apne ghar kab aayoge?”
Our senior Sambit Pradhan guided us, ironed out glitches and also lent his voice. Since Vishwesh had a very clear idea on how and where to shoot the film, the overall tone and specific vision in mind; he did the cinematography himself and edited the film. We chose locations that created the right mix of Ahmedabad’s old city and new. Most of the actors in our film are people we had previously worked with and from among our family and friends. The protagonist in the film, Vrattini Ghadge, had acted in Vishwesh’s diploma film and had done a brilliant job, her husband in the film, Palash Singh, was Vishwesh’s roommate in college and had acted enthusiastically in a lot of our shoots.
Writing, shooting and editing this film was a great experience, the whole process was like a celebration – a celebration of festivals, childhood and above all, a woman’s spirit.
In a nutshell:
The brief for Coldwell Banker‘s film contest greatly excited us as it gave us an opportunity to make something close to our hearts whicht would represent our community and traditions.
The entire film is an amalgamation of childhood memories, festivals, experiences and interactions with people around us. Specific things with special significance such as that spot on the terrace to place spool while flying kites, stepping on the pedal of the sewing machine and globally known ‘Indian’ things like Diwali and Namaste and universal aspects such as a wall where kids mark their heights while growing up.
We incorporate all these small but heart warming elements on the backdrop of a woman’s story who has just moved to a new house and is thinking about what kind of things will make her house a home.
Writing, shooting and editing this film was a great experience, we collaborated with talented people who gave their unique screen presence to the film. The whole process was like a celebration – a celebration of festivals, childhood memories and above all, a woman’s spirit.