Tanuja Chandra’s Debut Documentary, ‘Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha’ To Have Its Asia Premiere At Jio Mami 21st Mumbai Film Festival With Star In The Spotlight Category
After its world premiere in the Madrid International Film Festival, filmmaker Tanuja Chandra’s debut documentary, ‘Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha’ will have its Asia premiere at Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star in the Spotlight section. The festival will be held from 17th – 24th October 2019. Recently, the film had its North American premiere in the Chicago South Asian Film Festival and the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival, Seattle.
Audiences have known about Tanuja Chandra’s love for films with female protagonists, now however, she makes her own aunts her subject. Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha follows two, old ladies (trudging along on their walkers, one with a toothless smile) as they laugh, gossip, quarrel, order the domestic help around, and go to sleep on their large, double bed!
Tanuja who has been attending MAMI for many years says, “I’m a fan of this wonderful festival and am so excited to have our local viewers watch the film. I’m also eager to receive the response of the American audience to this uniquely Indian film. Aging is a universal fact and I’m hoping that my quirky Buas will bring a smile on the faces of film lovers in Chicago and Seattle as it did in Madrid. And what’s also very cool is that not just my documentary but my short film, A Monsoon Date, starring Konkona will be screened at the American festivals as well!”
Anupama Mandloi, a television veteran, who has produced the doc under her banner, A Boy and A Dog Productions, says about her maiden venture, “I’m delighted to see festivals across the world inviting us to be a part of their showcase content and as delighted to return to Mumbai’s own, huge film extravaganza. Our protagonists cannot travel and yet their world and their lives will be witnessed at these global film festivals. It’s a beautiful irony’.
The film gently peeks into the lives of two, widowed sisters, aged 86 and 93, who has retired to a village, three hours from New Delhi. Their husbands long dead, they’re done with all familial responsibilities. They live with their adopted family of domestic help, gossiping, watching T.V., soaking in the sun and eating delicious food cooked from the vegetables they grow right outside their home. The film has the same easy-going tone that this oddball group does, 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.
“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”, says Anupama.
Tanuja Chandra is an Indian film 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 Tanve Azmi.
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