Cried, Had Breakdowns When Sharmajee Ki Beti Couldn’t Secure Platform For Release

Tahira Kashyap is currently basking in the success of her directorial debut Sharmajee Ki Beti, which is being loved by the masses across ages. It explores the trials and tribulations of multiple women in an urban, middle-class setup, and it stars Saiyami Kher, Divya Dutta and Sakshi Tanwar in lead roles. In a candid chat with The Free Press Journal, Tahira opened up on the delays and challenges during the making of the film, dearth of female-led films, and more. Excerpts:

How would you describe the journey of Sharmajee Ki Beti?

It’s been seven long years. I wrote the film in 2017, but then there were personal setbacks, COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown. Every time the project would start, there would be some impediment that came across and everything would get pushed back. But then Applause came on board, and things finally started to look up. The entire journey has taught me so much — not just about the craft of filmmaking but also about being a patient human being.

How were you confident that the film would work despite none of the three actresses being conventional ‘A-listers’?

Not just confidence but there was also a lot of immaturity. When you begin something, you believe the world will give you whatever you want, so I was convinced the film will pan out well. I just wanted to work with credible, authentic actors and I was really delusional at that time. As they say nowadays, ‘Delulu is the solulu’, I feel sometimes being ignorant actually is the solution. There are these so-called stereotypes that you need to make your first film with A-listers, you need to make your film with certain kinds of people. And it’s very important to be detached from those stereotypes. Having said that, I also understand the finances and commercial viability, and that is why it took us 7 years. But we eventually did it. So thank God that I was delusional!

What were your thoughts when Sharmajee Ki Beti struggled to find a platform?

I was just delusional and too optimistic. I’ve had breakdowns, testing days, and I’ve also cried. But then the next day, what else do you do? You wipe your tears and you make the next call. That’s the only thing we can do as human beings — survive and just keep going. Also, it might not sound practical enough, but chanting and meditation really helped me during that time. In the interim, I also wrote many more scripts. So it’s not that I was only focusing on this. Of course, this was there, but at the same time I was also honing my skills, and that kept me sane.

Was releasing Sharmajee Ki Beti on OTT a conscious decision?

It was the most dignified option that was given to us. Not many people have that option. They have to release the film in the theatres on an odd day to make the film eligible for an OTT release. Sharmajee Ki Beti was made with the intention to release it on OTT. I couldn’t have asked for anything better and bigger than this.

Do you think times have changed when it comes to female-oriented films?

Times have begun to change, yes, but the changes are inch by inch. Otherwise, we will not have the term ‘female-led films’. The fact that this question about female-led films is still relevant is because there is a death of such projects. The last box office hit in this category was Gangubai Kathiawadi, and then Crew happened. But you can count these films on your fingers. When enough and more such stuff is made, then they will just be known as ‘films’, not ‘female-oriented films’, and that will be the day when things will really have changed.

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