Had enough of male buddy movies? Think it’s unfair that boys have all the fun? Shital Morjaria’s indie All I Want Is Everything provides a timely antidote to cinematic celebrations of alpha energy. Morjaria’s debut feature, which opens on Friday at select multiplexes in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune, is about the up-down-up friendship between Nidhi (Sampada Harkara), Vaijanti (Sagari Venkata) and Trisha (Iantha Mitchell), three young women who meet at a film appreciation course. The movie is set in Hyderabad, where 39-year-old Morjaria lives and works as a producer for the television channel TV9.
All I Want Is Everything is a typical first film—the acting is patchy and the pacing occasionally stumbles. But it is also heartfelt and sincere in its depiction of the relationship between the characters, each of whom is grappling with a personal crisis. The dialogue is informal and realistic, and the story treatment is uplifting without being cloying. Edited excerpts from an interview with Morjaria:
What encouraged you to make a movie about female bonding?
The film grew out of my disappointment that while there were many male-bonding films, there were no women-centric films. In real life, women have such close friendships, but they are never shown on the screen.
People don’t acknowledge that there are female friendships that are everlasting. People also think a movie based on female friendships will not be commercially viable. I also wondered whether I could write a script and tell a story. Both things came together.
Your movie clocks a crisp 62 minutes—how did that happen?
The original script was meant to be 90 minutes long, but it had to become shorter because of budget and time constraints. My first cut was 90 minutes, but I felt it wasn’t working. If the movie didn’t work for me, why would it work for anybody else? You can’t bore people and stretch a film for the sake of it. So I was ruthless with my work.
Your debut is being released in cinemas. What has the journey been like?
It all came together—it has been a very thrilling journey. We are distributing the film ourselves.
I started to write the film two years ago. My friends helped me produce the script. But we were not sure whether anybody else was interested in this kind of a theme. So we formed our own company, called Banayenge Films. Surely it couldn’t be impossible to make a film?
We started meeting girls, we went to universities and met members of theatre groups. Of the three women, Sagari is a singer and has done theatre, while Iantha is only 16. We found Sampada on Facebook. Nobody was willing to do the role until she came forward.
We came together, rehearsed for a month, and finished the shoot in 10 days. Shooting was tough—we shot eight-nine scenes a day. It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of stress. It was a new experience for everybody.
The post-production took longer, depending on when we got the money. We made the film with our savings and our salaries. The cost of making the movie comes to Rs.25 lakh. Many people have still not been paid and have worked for free. We got a discount from Prasad Film Lab and Ramanaidu Studios for digital intermediate work, and the cinematographer and editor charged us barely anything.
How autobiographical is the movie?
I have always wanted to attend the film appreciation course at the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune, but because I am working full time, I have never managed to take a month off. There are also things I have seen in my friends. Also, I used to sleepwalk when I was very young, like Trisha’s character. When I was younger, I was angry, like Nidhi. Her personal conflict makes her like that; she is not sure people will be friends with her.
Are you planning to make more movies?
I would like to, but not anytime soon. People ask me about my next project. I tell them that it will take me till December to be finished with this film. I would like to take the movie to as many forums as possible. People are more indulgent towards your first film, but I have to put in more work in terms of the second one. I will make more films for sure.