She took a five-year gap between Shabd and Teen Patti, and now she is ready to show the Indian audience her new project Parched. Director Leena Yadav says she takes long breaks after each film as she finds it difficult to fit into the typical Bollywood formula films. “I don’t take breaks. It’s just very difficult for me to make films because I don’t fit into the typical Bollywood formula films,” Yadav told IANS.
“It was later after I made ‘Shabd’ (2005) and ‘Teen Patti’ (2010) when people told me that the films were brilliant. Initially, my films were criticised and I was told that I had made shit,” she added.
She found it weird. “It was weird for me because, by the time I was making Teen Patti, people were calling Shabd a cult film. I was trying to find my audience and I think I’ve found them with ‘Parched’,” she said.
Shabd, starring Aishwarya Rai and Sanjay Dutt, was about a writer who becomes schizophrenic, while the Amitabh Bachchan and Ben Kingsley starrer Teen Patti was about an eccentric mathemagician’s adventures.
Her newest offering Parched traces the life of four women in a village which grapples with age-old traditions. Key roles have been essayed by a cast as talented as Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla, Adil Hussain, Lehar Khan and Sayani Gupta. Yadav, who premiered the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last year, says it is for the universal audience.
“I don’t think ‘Parched’ is for a niche audience at all. It’s for the universal audience and everyone can relate to the film. I have seen the film with a diverse audience and yet it’s so much rooted in India,” she said. The Ajay Devgn produced the film, releasing in theatres on September 23, highlights the way society sees a widow and a sex worker, and also touches upon marital rape.
Yadav said her focus is to make films which make her feel proud as a director. “This is the only profession that I know. I take a lot of time to write my films. I do not want to make 100 films in a lifetime, but I wish to make films that will make me proud.”
“So far, I am proud of the films I have made. I usually take one to six years to make a film as it’s a doting task that has to be worthwhile,” said Yadav, who does not want to decode the “formula” in Bollywood.
“I don’t want to get into that formula because that’s not who I am. I didn’t try to understand it. I have done three different films and I wish to go at the same pace,” said Yadav, for whom showcasing Parched at TIFF was a high point.
“We have had a very crazy and beautiful journey. It started with TIFF and that was the show I was so stressed out about. We had such a mix of international audience and that’s the highest point of my life because we got a standing ovation.”