Married to the movies

Gauri Shinde lectures on health just as husband R Balki is ready to dig into French fries. But the reason that keeps them together is their shared love for cinema.

Written by PriyankaPereira | Published:September 14, 2012 3:44 am

Gauri Shinde lectures on health just as husband R Balki is ready to dig into French fries. But the reason that keeps them together is their shared love for cinema.

PRIYANKA PEREIRA

For débutante director Gauri Shinde,her filmmaker husband R Balki was both a source of trepidation and inspiration. “Seeing him work exhausted me. He was still working with his advertising firm while shooting for his films Cheeni Kum and Paa. This made me even more nervous,” says she. However,when she saw his movies,she was convinced that her dream of making a film was possible. The process became easier when her husband fell in love with her script and decided to produce the film.

Balki and Shinde both grew up on a diet of films. While Shinde was more selective,Balki watched almost everything that released. “I did not know what else to do with my life,” he says. The two met almost a decade ago at the advertising agency Lowe Lintas,Mumbai,where they worked (Balki is now chairman and chief creative officer of the agency while Shinde quit her job to make the movie). Soon,they started dating.

“It was love at second or third sight,” she says,while Balki smiles. Since both of them were movie buffs,their first date was at a cinema hall. “We had a long date where all we did was watch two movies and hardly spoke,” adds Shinde.

Their banter aside,a common thread that binds them is their love for filmmaking. This is what pushed the two to look beyond advertising.

“I was always interested in films,but not qualified to make them. I was living in Bangalore when I got into advertising. It was a perfect place to be,where people paid me for ideas. After years of doing this,I decided to make my first film,” says Balki. Shinde confesses that every advertising filmmaker has a script tucked in somewhere. “I started out with the dream of being a filmmaker. But I joined as a trainee copywriter at an ad agency in Pune. Soon after I moved to Mumbai and started directing ad films. I directed around 70 odd films before I decided to work on my feature film,” she says.

For English Vinglish,Shinde has penned down the story of her mother,who experienced awkward moments because of her lack of knowledge of the English language. “I derived the film’s story from my mother’s insecurities of not knowing the English language and how she made sure that my sister and I went to a convent school and learnt the language well,” says she.

Balki,who believes that the concept is the hero of the film,states that he was actually jealous of Shinde. “I was jealous at first. But instead of sulking,I thought I should engineer the project in such a way that only I could produce it,” laughs Balki,whose movies explored concepts such as love overruling age difference and progeria.

Not just subjects,Shinde and Balki have very different approaches to filmmaking. While Shinde has an eye for detail,Balki rides a lot on luck. “Her pre-production work exhausted me. She would look into every sari and chappal. I am more in love with the paper,” he says. Despite their different ways of working,they make sure the one thing they do together is watch a film every night before they go to sleep. “We usually watch half the film at night and the other half the next morning. This is what we love to do,even in each other’s absence,” says Shinde.

Quirky Takes

Gauri on Balki

He has 100 black T-shirts and 50 blue jeans. People may think he is wearing the same tee everyday,but trust me he is wearing a different one each day.

He eats extremely hot and spicy food.

Although we have help in the house,he does his own laundry.

Balki on Gauri

She loves movies,but hates television.

She has the habit of carrying a shawl everywhere she goes,with the reasoning that ‘it could be cold’.

She has the habit of lecturing on health just as I am ready to dig into my French fries.

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