Filmmaker Raaj Shaandilyaa, known for ‘Dream Girl’ and ‘Jabariya Jodi’, says he enjoys telling social comedies and Nushrratt Bharuccha star ‘Janhit Mein Jaari’ is a worthy addition to his repertoire.
Directed by Jai Basantu Singh, “Janhit Mein Jaari” will see Shaandilyaa double as writer and producer.
“I like to tell social comedy films and I will continue to do them, whether as a writer, producer or director. I want to tell stories that at least contribute something to society. It may seem easy but there are challenges, you have to research the subject and present it in a way that will appeal to the audience,” the filmmaker told PTI in an interview.
Shaandilyaa, who started out as a screenwriter on the TV show “Comedy Cirus,” wrote dialogues for films such as “Welcome Back” and “Jabariya Jodi” before making his directorial debut with “Dream Girl,” with Ayushmann Khurrana and Bharuccha.
He believes cinema is an effective tool to raise awareness of social issues and his upcoming film uses comedy as a medium to highlight the importance of birth control in the country.
“This (‘Janhit Mein Jaari’) is not just a project but a responsibility. We try to do as little as possible in our ability to raise awareness of the problem of population growth through film. Cinema is a medium that influences people, but how many people follow or what the impact has been remains to be determined precisely,” he added.
According to the official synopsis, “Janhit Mein Jaari” revolves around Neeti of Bharuccha, a woman from Madhya Pradesh, who takes it upon herself to sell condoms in her town. The film traces her journey as she faces challenges due to social taboo, while struggling against her family and neighborhood.
Working in a small-town story has its own challenges, the Jhansi-born writer-director pointed out.
Shandilyaa said locals weren’t welcoming enough to the team talking openly about a taboo subject.
“We shot the film in Gwalior, Chanderi and a few other places in Madhya Pradesh. When we were shooting in Chanderi and Nushrratt was yelling “condom,” people were like, “What are you talking about? You can’t do all of that here. “We had to explain why we were doing it and later they understood the idea behind it. Through the film, we highlight the taboo around condoms, the importance of birth control and how, due to the increase in population, there are issues like employment, education, etc,” Shandilyaa said.
The filmmaker said plans are underway for the second installment of “Dream Girl” and a social comedy starring Varun Dhawan. He is also set to produce “Kisaan,” starring Sonu Sood and directed by E Niwas.
“We are excited to expand ‘Dream Girl’ into a franchise. Work is underway on the script for ‘Dream Girl’ (2) and we will announce it soon. It’s with Ekta Kapoor. Kisaan’, which will air in March next year and we have a script ready for a social comedy with Varun,” he said.
However, her film with Rajkummar Rao on male surrogacy, is shelved.
“There are a couple of movies in the works on similar topics of male surrogacy, so we’ve dropped the idea,” he added.
“Janhit Mein Jaari” also features Anud Dhaka, Annu Kapoor and Paritosh Tripathi in key roles.
Produced by Vinod Bhanushali under his Bhanushali Studios Limited banner and Think Ink Picturez in association with Shree Raghav Entertainment LLP, the film is set to hit theaters on June 10.
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