After assisting director Prakash Jha on films like Gangaajal and Rajneeti, Alankrita Shrivastava debuted with Turning 30 in 2011. She, however, came to the forefront with the critically-acclaimed Lipstick Under My Burkha last year, which won several awards internationally (but came under fire with the censor board and released after much trouble back home). Today, Alankrita writes about the one film that has played an important part in her years as a filmmaker, helping her understand the craft better.
One of the films that I love that has had a huge impact on me is Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding (2001). I feel that it is a very complete film emotionally. It is layered and complex, yet simple. It has so much local colour and flavour, and yet is so universal.
I think the film has been made with empathy and gentleness. Every time I watch it, I feel like I too am part of the wedding family. I love that it is so unexpected, yet in the end it feels like how things played out were inevitable.
The characters are so real, their conflicts so relatable and genuine. And it all feels so effortless. The film just flows. The casting is superb. Every character is perfect for his/her part.
What I love is the tone of the film. It just feels so natural and right. The way the camera has been, the performances, the use of colour, the use of songs. There is so much texture.
But if there is one defining quality that shines through, it is that there is a truth in the film, a deep emotional honesty. And the film is special because the honesty just comes through.
I think it is a beautiful portrait of a dysfunctional family that finds love and hope.
Before starting any new film I go back and watch this film. It is perhaps, in a strange way, my film bible.
By Alankrita Shrivastava