“All the rumours about Bhangra Paa Le releasing on a streaming platform were untrue” – Sneha Taurani

Anish Mohanty

She was born in a film family, yet Sneha Taurani did not use her connections to get into cinema. She assisted directors in films which were not produced by Tips Films, her home banner and now, she is all set to make her debut as a director with ‘Bhangra Paa Le’, a film produced by Ronnie Screwvala. In this exclusive interview, she talks about the rumours surrounding her film, the music of the film, the lesser known nuances about Bhangra which she hopes the audience will explore through the film, working with Ronnie Screwvala and more.

A while back, there were rumours about ‘Bhangra Paa Le’ releasing directly on a streaming platform. As a first-time filmmaker, were you disturbed by the news?

Of course, I did get upset because of the rumours but it was all a result of baseless speculation. All the rumours about ‘Bhangra Paa Le’ releasing on a streaming platform were untrue. Netflix is our film’s exclusive streaming partner, so it was meant to go there but only after a theatrical release. Initially, the film was supposed to release in September and would have come out on Netflix sixty days after its theatrical release. The Netflix calendar reflected the old date on which it was supposed to start streaming from and that is how some people got the wrong idea about it releasing directly on Netflix.

You were assisting Akarsh Khurana on ‘Karwaan’ when this script came to you.

Yes, when I was working on ‘Karwaan’, the associate producer of the film, who has also worked on ‘Bhangra Paa Le’, asked me what I was planning to do next. I told her that I was really keen on directing a film. She told me that Dheeraj (Rattan, writer) sir is developing this script about bhangra. As I am very passionate about music, I got immediately attracted to the idea. We started jamming on the script and soon, the final draft was in place.

You have cast Akarsh Khurana in the film too.

(Laughs) Yes, I have a long-standing equation with him. Apart from ‘Karwaan’, I had worked with him on ‘High Jack’ and the web-series ‘Boygiri’. He is as good an actor as he is a director. There was a role in the film which I thought would suit him. I asked him if he would like to do it and he said a yes.

You are Ramesh Taurani’s daughter. One would have expected you to make your debut with a film produced by Tips.

I have always worked outside Tips. This film just fell into my lap and I am glad it did. Ultimately, you go to the place where you get an interesting story to tell. I would love to direct a film for Tips in the future if the right script and opportunity comes along.

The music of the film is very good. There are 11 songs in the album. How was the process of putting it all together?

It was a long but fruitful process. We worked on the music of the film longer than the time we spent shooting the film. There is a lot of research that went into it. The film has two timelines – one that is set in the present times and the other which is set in the 40s. Different composers from Jam8 have contributed to the album. Rishi Rich has also done a couple of songs. I am really happy with the way the music has shaped up.

The music has been released by Tips. Was your father involved in the music creation process?

He was not involved in the process of creating the music but he heard the tracks and gave his feedback. Tips has marketed the album very well but he gave us a free-hand while putting together the album.

Ronnie Screwvala is one of the finest minds in the business. How was it to have him as the producer on your first film?

Working with Ronnie sir was a life-changing experience. He is a very fine producer and is responsible for giving many filmmakers the opportunity to make their first film. To make a film about bhangra with newcomers is a huge risk but he decided to take it. He was very supportive and let me make the film the way I wanted to.

Through the film, you are showing various aspects of Bhangra which people are not familiar with.

Yes, when we started doing research, we realised there are various categories and sub-categories of bhangra which a lot of people do not know about. They are several variations of different bhangra steps. The idea was to take all of these forms and showcase them in the film. The second half goes into the international competition zone where you will get to see other forms of dance as well.

What are you making next?

I have even not had the time to think about that (laughs). I have been totally consumed with ‘Bhangra Paa Le’ for a long time. Once the film releases, I will think about what I want to make next.

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