Alankrita Shrivastava. Heard her name before? No! Ok, what about Prakash Jha? Yes! Now combine the two and you’ll see Turning 30. It’s a pun because their combine age would make it sound they’re turning old. Anyway, the debutant director is all set to release her first film under Prakash Jha Productions and can’t thank her stars enough. Again a pun because she really can’t thank Gul Panag and Purab Kohli enough. In her early thirties, Alankrita comes across as a confident first timer. But that’s what all debutants come across like, right? Right! So then here you go. Please welcome the lady in her thirties, Alankrita Shrivastava. By the way, did I just miss on one point that describes her? It’s her submerged assurance and a determined mind that says ‘never say never’…..and she did it. UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama’s London correspondent gets chatty with Bollywood newest debutant.
A great beginning
Turning 30 is a great beginning for me. But I am so busy that I can’t feel anything right now. It’s a numb feeling. I am about to debut as a director. Turning 30 is a perfect start because I really wanted to tell this story. I have told it my way too.
Urban Single and Energetic – Gul Panag
I had to think a lot about Gul’s character in the film as the entire film revolves around this character. Moreover, I had to think a lot about who will do this part. I think Gul had that ‘high-city-girl’ kind of energy that I needed. She lives a fast paced life, never lazy, always on the move, etc. She is living an urban single girl life and that’s what I wanted for my film. I knew she is a great performer too. I saw Manorama Six Feet Under and I had made up my mind to cast her. Gul had to commit to this film a lot as she was there in every scene of the film, except a couple. She has been alongside me in thick and thin and is now leaving no stone unturned for the films promotion too.
The right decision
Prakash Jha knew that I came into his company so that one day I’d make my own film. All associate directors aspire to become directors eventually. I had the same aspirations. The question was – ‘When was I ready to take up the challenge?’ After I finished with Khoya Khoya Chand, is when I felt that the time has come to start thinking about my first film.
Guiding force – Prakash Jha
Prakashji was a major guiding force for me. I showed my first draft to him and he came up with some points of feedback. Then I wrote another draft and he again made some pointers. Finally, the third draft was liked by him in its totality. I told him that I wanted Purab Kohli and Gul Panag in the film. He decided the parameters of the budget and all, met Purab and Gul and the rest, he left it to me. He just came on the sets for a couple of days, once to say hi to Gul and Purab and on the other to wish me luck.
‘Hinglish’ or ‘English’
There was a time when there used to be very few writers who used to write in English. That was all that it was. The time has again come where English writing is being used in the film in terms of dialogues and the actual lingo. As far as Indian films are concerned, there are a few directors who embark on the same philosophy of using English as one of their languages in their films. After all, bilingual films do appeal to a large section of our cine-going audiences.
Perfect and punctual – Purab Kohli
By the time I finished writing the film, I decided that I wanted to cast Purab Kohli. It was really a delight to work with him. He is so sweet and so much fun. He has been really supportive and has done a fabulous job in Turning 30. He is a very spontaneous and a sensitive actor. He has delivered an honest performance.