Shilpi Dasgupta Interview: “Sonakshi Sinha Let Go Of Her Star Image To Play Baby Bedi In Khandaani Shafakhana”

Mohnish Singh |Aug 01, 2019

Shilpi Dasgupta, who has been a prolific writer in showbiz for more than a decade now, is branching out to direction with the forthcoming film "Khandaani Shafakhana", starring Sonakshi Sinha, Varun Sharma and Badshah.

After spending more than a decade in the entertainment industry as a writer, Shilpi Dasgupta is now set to make her directorial debut with T-Series Films’ upcoming offering Khandaani Shafakhana. Toplined by Sonakshi Sinha, the film revolves around a small-town girl Baby Bedi who has inherited a sex-clinic from her maternal uncle. The catch is that she will have to run the clinic for at least half a year before selling it off.

The trailer of Khandaani Shafakhana has garnered positive responses from various corners, and now everybody is looking forward to the release of the movie on 2nd August.

As Shilpi Dasgupta gears herself up for the theatrical release of her directorial, STARBIZ correspondent Mohnish Singh meets the debutant filmmaker for a candid conversation on Khandaani Shafakhana, how did she come about casting Sonakshi Sinha for the role of Baby Bedi, and what led her to chose such a distinctively taboo topic to make her directorial debut with. Excerpts…

Image source: TOI

The trailer of Khandaani Shafakhana has received overwhelming responses from the audience. How excited are you about the film?

I am extremely excited. Actually, I have been pretty lucky that I have been excited all through.

Is it because of the exciting cast of the film?

Yes, it is because of that. It is also because of the fact that I have had an excellent producer. The excitement is because I have a wonderful writer. I think the excitement is because it is an exciting story.

How did you come up with the story?

My writer friend Gautam Mehra, it is his story. He came up with the idea. He came and narrated the story to us. We knew that we had to make it. For two years, he worked on the story. So, that’s how the story came to us.

Khandaani Shafakhana deals with a taboo topic. Not everyone takes up such topics to make their directorial debut with. But you have taken the risk. So, how challenging was it for you as a debutant filmmaker?

It was challenging. From the very word go, we knew where we were stepping in. It was a very volatile territory which we knew that we were walking in. I could have not found a producer for the rest of my life. I would have grown old looking for an actress but nothing like that happened. While I made this film, my belief in the system became very strong because we are very much ready for a change. The country, people, youth, there is something definitely which is very ready for a change.

So whoever has come our way, my way, during the making of the film, right from the conceptualization to the final stage, everybody who is involved in this film, is a believer in the subject. Nobody is doing it for any other reason. They believe in the subject. That is why there is Khandaani Shafakhana. Whether we believe it or not, we are ready for a change.

Sonakshi Sinha is all praise for you for the choice of the film. What do you have to say about it?

I will tell you something very honestly. I wanted an actress could become Baby Bedi. Baby Bedi was the start for me, and I wished someone who could become the ambassador for a subject like this. And when a person like Sonakshi Sinha endorses it, the journey becomes much easier, and it was for my surprise that she became Baby Bedi. She had to literally let go of her image of, you know, a star. But she became Baby Bedi. And I guess somewhere that honesty you will find in the film. You will see it in the performance.

How much time did it take to convince her?

Two meetings.

Was she always your first choice for the film?

As I said, I wanted an actress. When I went to her, she believed in the script. Her mother was also there. She knew that the subject was a little bit bold because if I write a synopsis of the film, it will be like, ‘It is about a small-town girl who has to run a sex clinic’. After hearing the synopsis, anyone would be like, ‘Arey bhagwan ye kya aa gaya?’ But gave me time, heard the story and she said, ‘Let’s do it.’ The rest is history.

Odxvv Nxwsaievrt
Image source: Instagram

This is such an important topic, but we yet shy away from talking about it.

Yeah. There were times when there were beauty parlors all around. Nowadays, there are fertility clinics and sex clinics. Either there is a severe dearth of sexual energy in our country or there is a dearth of reproduction. But the funny part is that children are not decreasing. I don’t know where they are coming from. I really cannot understand the mathematical calculation.

There is a dearth of sex education as well.

You pointed the correct thing. So many states in our country have banned sex education. There is no state that has banned rape, there is no state that has banned child abuse, molestation, etc., but sex education is banned.

Health problems happen, issues happen, people beat up their wives because they feel that is the way. It is a dark world. We chose to say it in a different way. We are laughing at ourselves, we are saying the story with a lot of humour, but once you go deeper into the subject, we all are at threat. All our children, all our wives, husbands and grandparents are at threat. We don’t recognize the demon.

Since your film involves a topic that has “sex” attached to it, how difficult or easy was it for you to shoot it?

One thing that was always on my mind was that whatever we do, we do it with utter honesty. It should not seem like we were trying to do something. We have shown whatever the truth at a slow pace is. We show it in a funny way, and I feel all the people connected to me, including the actors. We have surpassed ourselves doing that. We have told the stories with great honesty and things have been told on a lighter note. So, that was one thing that was on my mind. I think we have said it and we have done a good job.

Don’t you feel this is the correct time for such type of a film?

Yes, it is too late. It better had come out before but jab jaago tab savera.

Also, Badshah is making his acting debut with your film.

Yes, we are very excited and we are very lucky. We usually look at Badshah as a fan, but let me tell you that this person is an entirely different personality. He is someone who is a yaar and dost (friend) for everyone. He is a very cute and sensitive person. So when he heard the script, he said: “Yes we should do this film”.  Whosoever has connected to this story, it is solely because they believe in it. There is no other reason for Badshah to do this film. I couldn’t be one actually. He has done it because he believed in this film.

Image source: Twitter

How easy or difficult was it to work with him?

He taught me twenty things. In fact, Sonakshi Sinha, Varun Sharma and Badshah are friends, so it was a fun experience.

Since this is your first film, are you thinking about the box office numbers?

I don’t know number-wise, but I am an artist. I have made this film, not for me. I have made this film for people to consume and retain. In that sense, I would like the film’s reach to be the maximum because people don’t get chances that often and if I have been given this chance, so I better make the best out of it. And I am very lucky; it is a dream project actually. So, it matters to me that the film should deliver.

If people have shown trust in me and have placed some sort of responsibility on my shoulders, I am supposed to be delivering. So, yes, it matters. But what matters the most is what is the film saying ultimately. There are films that are hit instantly and there are films that are loved after 20 years. People discard them initially. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983) and several other films are of a similar kind, which talked about something different. So, I don’t have that pressure, but I feel that the film should be good and whoever watches it, enjoys it.

You are a first time director and Sonakshi Sinha has already worked in a lot of films. Was there any kind of awkwardness you faced on the sets?

Sonakshi Sinha has been a huge help. I was expressing that the weight on my shoulders was actually lessened as everyone shared it, especially Sonakshi Sinha because she became Baby Bedi. When she came on the set for the first time with all the costume and looking like her, I felt like the character had actually walked out from the script. She was very easy. She is so easy, she is so effortless. She is a dream.

Did she give any inputs in the film?

A lot. I think she has molded the character and given it a fuller form. The role has become a three-dimensional role now. A person has come out of it and carries with her the experience. There is a style, a persona.

Is there any genre that you want to work particularly on?

See, I am a storyteller. Any story that touches me, I am willing to give it my all.

Are you open to working in the digital space?

I am making a web-series, and I have started working on it already. It is called Paan Parda Zarda.

If all goes well and Khandaani Shafakhana does well at the box office, would you think of developing it into a franchise?

Why not? If Baby Bedi is a person that they associate with and if they think that she has the power of an individual, we can actually make her into a super being. Being the very normal person she is, why not?


Sort by Newest | Popular

Next Story