Interview By : ANKITA R. KANABAR

MilindDhaimade has commenced his directorial debut with ‘ TuHaiMera Sunday’ which had premiered last year at the London Film festival and has gained accolades at many film festivals across the world.  We had a brief chat with the articulate filmmaker about his film, his process of film making and his expectations from the audience. Excerpts:

“Making a film is beautiful and for me who comes from a middle class background and get to make a film is the most amazing feeling; I feel lucky”

‘Tu Hai Mera Sunday’ has already won many hearts across the world through its travel at film festivals and has been a crowd pleaser all across. How does it feel to receive such great appreciation?  

That feels really good and above all when you are an outsider in the business and you make something like this and it gets appreciated which we didn’t expect it feels fantastic.  For example when we made this film we didn’t think it’s a festival film. It was always a happy film and in festival films we don’t see this kind of urban life of stories. And it getting selected for festivals and audience choice awards; which is more important for me, and also now it’s getting easy. It’s an amazing film and people are talking about it which is great. But there is also a thing to reach out to more people because ultimately what happens is – we are still a small film, and a small film has to fight 10 times more with the bigger films. So yeah there is a little bit nervousness otherwise it’s an amazing feeling.

Were you expecting such a huge response while making this film?

No I didn’t expect much but what happens is when we make a film and narrate the story so all what we have in mind is that we have to make a film and it’s a very difficult process. The very fact that we made the film was a big thing for us. We never thought whether it will be a hit or a flop; we were just making a good film and that was the first priority.  We didn’t want to blame anyone for anything if it didn’t work. We just knew it is our film and we are proud of it.

How did the idea happen? 

There is a group named “Juhu beach united”and they play every Sunday. And one of my friends had started this group because he is a big fan of football and he loves it. But one thing about him I loved the most is that – it’s not about playing the game but it’s just the game he loves. More than playing the game he loves the fact that itunites people.  And then eventually I noticed that the people who came to play football where from all different fields and come from different places and having different backgrounds from being a CEO to a normal hawker owner. All use to sit and chit chat after the game and have fun.  And then I realized that in life we have always taught that we have to do everything for money and what scope we have in our career.  But to do something that you love is such a wonderful thing. So I thought what if anyone will tell them not to play on Sundays?What will happen to them? What will be their condition? Because they look forward to this one Sunday from their routine work and even that is stopped then what will happen.  So that’s how the idea came to me.

Why ‘TuHaiMera Sunday’ as the title?  

That also happened with this idea but initially the title was “Juhu beach united” originally.  For some time I felt it was fit as a title but then what happened was we didn’t get the rights for some reasons. And also then it is not a complete football or sports film. It is about personal life, romance; it has many aspects to it.  So there was an argument internally if we kept “Juhu beach united” then it would sound too sporty. But it’s a romantic film also and girls will love it.  So when we couldn’t decide on the title, there was a theme song in the film – “TuHaiMera Sunday”  so then we thought it gives a better feel and also we have a song for the title  so that’s how it happened.

As a directorial debut did you always want to make a Rom-com film? 

I have been writing for past five years and initially what I wrote wasn’t good enough to display. But I didn’t leave writing, and among all my scripts, the script of‘TuHaiMera Sunday’was the happiest.  So I spoke to the producer and he said if we choose to make our first film let’s make this one because it is an easy script and accessible and also it is relevant to today’s world.

How did you zero down your star cast?  

It was a difficult process again, I actually wanted fourteen actors but that didn’t happen. And our casting director helped us.  But the characters we found was so good and all their chemistry with each other went good. It’s been three years and now we are close friends and also now if anything is there for the film everyone will come in.  So casting was a great process and we found some great actors.

How was it shooting in Mumbai that too in an area like Juhu beach? 

Shooting in Mumbai is not at all easy and especially Juhu beach. So what I thought it would be difficult if I plan to shoot and make it a big thing out of it.  First what we did is we started training the guys for a month, every morning at 6 am with the football coach.  And every day we started playing at Juhu beach like normal people do. Then we realized it was getting part of our normal routine so then we took a small camera and located in a place hidden. So basically a lot of shots, shot in Juhu beach were done in this way that no one was aware of it and we even got a good footage. The film is real, I am from Mumbai and all the incidents and these stories in the film are of my friends. If anyone will see the film it has the essence of realism and it feels candid though the whole film is not candid.

What are your expectations now from the industry and Mumbai audience?

What I really want is – in this film there is so much talent not besides the actors like Barun, Shahana, Rasika , Vishal who is  kind of known , there are also other talent which are new. Besides all these the techniques, the musicians, so for me the wish is that audience should see everyone and like all their work.  And also whoever is associated with this film gets another break after this film.  And I think we need new talent so I hope it happens with this film.

Your film is clashing with a big film having Saif Ali Khan in ‘Chef’so does that bother you in terms of the box-office collection?

As a film maker I either have a sense of entertainment and what works. It’s like when you love somebody you don’t love them thinking why you love them its unconditional.  And of course who doesn’t want their film to do well and be successful. And I feel there are a few big films which don’t work because it has been made as a formula, people are not using their soul and heart to make a film.  In fact small budget films are working nowadays which means audience is ready for something new and entertaining.  A lot of producers now just want to invest and gain and in between that – it doesn’t matter. There was a time when producers were passionate to make a film and their choice of films and involvement was there.  So in such big films even the big star cast doesn’t matter and it’s not even their fault.

What’s next?

I am working on another script and also a web series which is quite interesting and different from what people are doing.

Lastly what do you take back from your film?

I take back only one thing – making a film is easy but selling the film is very difficult and the process is exhausting. But making a film is beautiful and for me who comes from a middle class background and get to make a film is the most amazing feeling; I feel lucky. I am blessed to have a good star cast and we had a very good experience over all.

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