When Milind Dhaimade gave up a career in advertising after 15 years to turn filmmaker,it was in search of a creative outlet. He wanted his art to be free of material binds. This desire unknowingly seeped into the debutant filmmakers script for a short film and took the form of his characters. Coming from a middle-class background,the protagonist of his film is a family of vagabonds,which defies social norms and lives on the road,stopping temporarily at random places as long as its members please. To truly lend this sense of freedom to his characters,Dhaimade also freed the actors from mouthing any lines. Prakata Het Yad,hence,is a film in gibberish.
The 20-minute film,with character actor Rituraj Singh and renowned theater artiste Sheeba Chaddha as parents in the four-member family,Prakata Het Yad has already won the Audience Choice award in the Short Films category at River 2 River Indian Film Festival in Florence,and will be touring the festival circuit,starting with the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles next month.
Prakata Het Yad attempts to address the changes taking place in middle-class family households. So while you have a family that lives without any bounds,within its own framework,they operate like any other middle-class set-up,dreaming of growth and wanting their children to grow up to be like them. It symbolises our hypocritical view where we ape the West but want our kids to nurture Indian values, Dhaimade says.
The idea of using gibberish,however,came about at the execution stage. The actors,given only the script without any dialogues,were at a loss. That is when Dhaimade decided to let them use gibberish. If I had let it be a silent film,I may have ended up enjoying some reflected glory of The Artist. But it is too late now, he says with a laugh. The director,who has also produced the film under the banner Love & Faith,is fascinated by the emerging urban Indian middle-class. I grew up in a typical Maharashtrian household. But if I have to draw a map of my life,I can see the ethos has changed: the way I talk or conduct myself is no longer the same. This fact always fascinates me, he explains.
The theme has also become the setting for a feature film that he is next hoping to make. There is a detachment from this everyday reality in films. These days,we either make movies that are larger-than-life or explore the underbelly. My films are somewhere in between,like 3 Idiots, he explains.