Tanuja Chandra’s First Documentary Film, ‘Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha’ To Have Its World Premiere At The Madrid International Film Festival, 2019
Right from her debut, Tanuja Chandra has made films with female protagonists and now her own aunts are her subject. Her first documentary film, ‘Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha’ is to have its World Premiere at the Madrid International Film Festival, where it’s nominated in the Best Foreign Language Documentary and Best Director categories.The film will be screened on August 13th in the beautiful city of Madrid, in the festival held from 9–17 August 2019.Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha follows the filmmaker’s aunts, aged 86 and 93. The film has been produced by Anupama Mandloi, a television veteran, under her banner, A Boy and A Dog Productions. This is her first production.
Three hours outside of the capital of India, is a village called Lahra. This film follows two widowed sisters, aged 86 and 93, who have retired to this village, whose days are spent with their adopted family of domestic help. With a rare acceptance of old age, they spend their time gossiping, watching T.V., soaking in the sun and bonding with the help in a hearty sharing of community life. The film has a facile, easy going tone, that gazes lightly at the passing of days. And yet, from this light-heartedness, emerge lessons of courage and perseverance, of camaraderie and care-giving, of destiny and faith, and the most significant one: when we engage in conversations of death, we improve the quality of life.
Tanuja Chandra is a director and writer. She co-wrote the screenplays of Mahesh Bhatt’s Tamanna and Zakhm and Yash Chopra’s hit, Dil To Pagal Hai and is known for frequently directing films with strong female characters: Qarib Qarib Singlle, Dushman, Sangharsh, Zindaggi Rocks, Sur- The Melody Of Life, Hope and A Little Sugar. She made her directorial debut with the TV series, Zameen Aasmaan, starring Tanvi Azmi.
Talking about the film and its selection at the Madrid International Film Festival 2019, Tanuja Chandra says, “This is a personal, passion project for me, which on the face of it is about two old women in the autumn of their lives, but really it could be said they’re in the spring of their lives! I’m excited that it’s premiering in Madrid; old age isn’t limited to any one part of the world, is it? It’s universal, and when two ladies in walkers, one of them toothless, have an infectious zest for life, well, this joy should be shared with the world, I think! “A director’s vision is only as good as the team she has and I’ve been fortunate to have like-minded, wonderful people join me on this journey”
Tanuja adds, “As a film director with a fairly long career, I started out as a television journalist, writing and editing stories about people, stories that were light or serious, melodramatic or slice-of-life. I had wanted to document the charmed existence of my aunts for a while. When I finally decided to visit them in their village home, I wasn’t sure what to expect. And I have to say – the taste of crisp and lovely springtime with them filled my heart with warmth. I felt I had touched an actual and sweet grace that’s possibly going to stay with me till my own sunset years. If viewers feel this grace too, then I would have brought a modicum of dignity to aging people in the world and for that I feel fortunate as a director. This documentary has added an important layer to my oeuvre; though life is filled with drama and sorrow, a film can portray human truth with the ease of a light touch. Indeed, I’m thankful that my aunts let me film them,they’ve enabled me to become a better filmmaker.”
Anupama Mandloi says, “Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha came together in the most effortless manner for me from the day I decided to back Tanuja’s passion project. Meeting her aunts in their environment was all I needed to know that I had stumbled upon a gem. The beauty of this documentary lies in the warm, cheerful and utterly delightful personalities of Aunty Sudha and Aunty Radha. I’m happy that it will begin its journey from Madrid, the land of art, architecture and music and represent India amidst an international array of films.”
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