There might have been a huge gap between filmmaker Ruchi Narain’s first and second film but she has helmed some of the popular television commercials and have worked with the biggest of stars in the film business in the process. Her new film ‘Hanuman Da’ Damdaar’ hit the theatres on 2 June 2017. In this interview, she talks about the gap between her two films, making a big animation film in India and future projects.
Your last film as a director released way back in 2005? What took you twelve long years to make your second feature film?
I started making commercials and got busy in setting up a production company which is now known as R.A.T Films. I was supposed to make a film a couple of years back but that did not happen. Then, I developed an idea for an animation film and started working on it.
The kind of films you have been associated as a writer and a director were fairly offbeat and intense. They were the kind of films that are more accessible to the discerning audience. One would not have imagined you making an animation film. How did ‘Hanuman Da’ Damdaar’ happen?
After ‘Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi’ (2003) released, I was asked what I want to do next. I said what I really want to do now is make an animation film. I get attracted to stories which are entertaining. The kind of films I have been associated in the past had a serious vibe to them but I really like bringing an element of fun and humour to my work. With ‘Hanuman Da’ Damdaar’, I got the opportunity to play around with these elements. Every film has a bit of the filmmaker but this film has all of me in it.
Animation films do not have a huge market in India. The successes have been few and far in between. Did you take this into account before making this film?
I was aware of it but at the same time, I feel the audience is receptive to all kinds of films. If you tell a good story in an entertaining way, I do not see any reason why would not appreciate it. I know the West has explored the genre far more successfully than we have but that does not mean there is a lack of interest for animation films in India.
This is not the first animation film on Lord Hanuman. What do you think ‘Hanuman Da’ Damdaar’ offers to the audience which the other films have not?
There are a couple of things. The entertainment value of the film is very high. It has a very contemporary setting to it. The characters speak in today’s language. When you say today’s language, people assume it is Hinglish but I wanted the dialogues to have a desi cool element to them. Mythological stories have been mostly presented in a slightly preachy manner. The characters are shown talking in an old-fashioned manner which they did not speak during those times anyways. What we have been seeing so far is a Victorian depiction of our mythology.