Running Shaadi, an romantic comedy film produced by Shoojit Sircar is about the unique concept of helping people run away with the love of their life to get married. It was named RunningShaadi.com but later it was changed to Running Shaadi.
Shoojit Sircar and Amit Roy talk about Running Shaadi helping friends elope and the trouble with telling stories today.
Your film Running Shaadi, is hitting the screen two years after it was completed. What caused the delay?
Amit Roy: We were waiting for the right time slot. In 2014, we didn’t want the film to come and go, and drown in the middle of other big films. Also, it takes time to make a topical film — I cannot make a film about today, right this minute.
Shoojit Sircar: The reasons for the delay are strategic. It’s a small film and one has to find the right window for it. The shelf life of the film is still there, so it’s not dated. I think we should be happy that this film is releasing; I have a past record of films not releasing.
Is there a release date for your other film, Shoebite?
Sircar: I don’t know yet. Whenever it happens, I will be jumping around.
Two years ago, there were reports about ‘love jihad’ and people like the Love Commandos who were helping inter-caste and inter-religious couples after they eloped. Is the film a humorous
take on that?
Sircar: Yes, because at the end of the day, the job is to engage an audience. But let’s accept the fact that there is a menacing problem in our society — about caste, religion, about high and low income groups. I know, I have faced it every day. If a person is 18 years or older, they have every right to choose who they want to settle down with. But in India, that’s not the case. Paanch aadmi baith ke decide karenge (five people will sit and decide).
When did you develop the idea of Running Shaadi, and pick the cast?
Roy: I met Navjot Gulati, my co-writer, at the end of 2012. He told me this idea of a character in a small town who starts the service of helping couples elope. I said, why not make it a website idea. We went to Amritsar and did a lot of research, just to get an essence of how people live and think. Once we had the screenplay, we thought of getting a cast together. Kai Po Che had just come out and Amit Sadh was recommended to us by Mukesh Chhabra, the casting agent. I was blown away when I met him; he can change himself and his craft as an actor is just incredible. We met Tapsee Pannu through a mutual friend. The moment she opened her mouth, I knew she was Nimmi. So, we locked those two actors immediately. Then I approached Shoojitda; we go back a long way.
Sircar: I used to be an assistant to his uncle, Deepak Roy, who was a well-known documentary filmmaker. I liked the story because I had also eloped to get married in 1999, and over the years I’ve helped many friends elope. I like to work with people I know. I doubt if I will work well with an outsider; I’ll run away.
You’re making a film on Udham Singh now. Do you feel that it has become more difficult to make films on historical figures in the current political climate?
Sircar: It will always be a challenge, and I’ll have to face it. As the Supreme Court has stated, you can choose to not watch a film. Tell me one incident that is not politically motivated — everything is. Certain elements have to understand that if they resort to hooliganism and beat up filmmakers, we’ll take two more steps to project what we want in our films. Unless they come on a platform and talk to us.
Roy: If the state wants to uphold democracy, it is their duty to safeguard our rights, while it grants protesters their right to protest peacefully.
Shoojit, your father was in the Air Force and you had to take shelter underground during the 1971 war. What do you have to say about conversations in the public space that conflate nationalism and the Armed Forces?
Sircar: Who says what about the Armed Forces doesn’t bother me. I blame the media in a way — why do you go to those people and ask for a comment when you know how they think? Go where you can solve the issue. The Armed Forces is doing their job and I have full respect for the kind of risks they take; I know what my father and family went through. But nobody is a lesser citizen of this country.