My fantasies are of hope, not false escape from reality like Bollywood: Gitanjali Rao

Bedika K

Mumbai, Oct 16 (PTI) Filmmaker Gitanjali Rao, whose animated film 'Bombay Rose' has emerged as the international festival darling, says she looks at the world as though it could be animated but her fantasies are of hope and not an escape from reality.

Gitanjali shot to global acclaim with her animated short 'Printed Rainbow', which bagged three awards at the Cannes International Critic's Week festival in 2006.

The filmmaker is now geared up for her debut animated feature 'Bombay Rose' which will have its India Premiere in India Gold category at the 21st edition of Jio MAMI Mumbai Festival with Star after its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.

'For me, the way life is shown in Bollywood is most of the times fantasy because it is so unreal. I have never believed in that and I know there's an entire audience which loves to look at fantasy because they want to get away from their reality. I don't undermine fantasy neither do I celebrate it.

'In a film like 'Bombay Rose', I simply want to show how real the life is of people who migrate and build a city like Bombay and how they'd like to escape through fantasy,' Gitanjali told PTI.

In 'Bombay Rose', which has been painted frame by frame, the filmmaker juxtaposes reality and fantasy the way they exist in life and not the way Bollywood shows it.

'(Which is) as something that exists instead of reality. That I wouldn't agree with. Fantasy and the art of dreaming are essential for people to escape from the struggles of reality, to be able to be hopeful in life. My fantasies and dreams are of hope, they're not a false escape from reality,' she added.

'Bombay Rose' is the story of a flower seller who has to make the choice between protecting her family or allowing herself to fall in love. The 93-minute-long film narrates stories of people who migrate from small towns, seeking a minimal life in the maximum city.

Gitanjali, who played a grieving mother in Shoojit Sircar's meditative drama 'October', said all the characters in the film were derived from people she has met in her life.

'All the stories and characters I deal with are real. There are people in the city who have stories like these. They aren't the only ones, there are hundreds, thousands of them. I have just chosen to tell this story instead of shying away from it and making it a pretty little entertaining animation film, which doesn't deal with reality.'

For the first four years when Gitanjali had the idea, she was trying to raise finance for the film. It took longer than making the film but she finally found the partners willing to take the risk of making a challenging, difficult movie in animation.

'Making the film took exactly 21 months which is not too much for an animation film and with not very large team of about 80 people. I have tried to make two other feature animation films but never finished it. This was the first and therefore the most exciting,' she said.

The filmmaker said she always looks at the world as though it could be animated and therefore has never been attracted towards making live action.

'Because all my imagination always has been about real things becoming unreal, a part of your imagination. The world to me is something that I traverse in, always looking where the flight of fantasy and imagination come in... This is great as filmmaker but it's quite weird to be like that as a human!

'It's just that I have few people who understand this completely, along with lots of cats I am surrounded by. I live in this realm and I make my films in this world, which I feel is absolutely 'animatable'. Reality can be quite depressing,' she added. PTI JUR BK

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