A couple of years ago, filmmaker Sharat Katariya saw a tailor stitching on the side of a street while visiting Delhi, the city of his birth. That’s when the thought of making a movie about everyday heroes struck him. The result is “Sui Dhaaga: Made in India", the tale of a young man who sets up a sewing business against all odds. The film has Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma in the lead and releases in theatres this weekend. Katariya told Reuters about the film’s message and how filmmaking is all about following one’s instincts.
Did you have big stars in mind for this story?
I didn’t think of anybody when I wrote the film or when I shared it with Maneesh (Sharma) and Adi (Aditya Chopra). One day, Adi called me and asked if I wanted to make it with Varun (Dhawan). I wasn’t sure. I was dilly-dallying.
Adi said I should meet him and give him the script. We met – he shared his concerns and I shared mine. I was a little skeptical in the beginning, but after meeting him I realized that he was the character – jumping around, impulsive etc, that is what the character is.
Anushka took a lot of convincing. I was completely convinced of her casting from the beginning. I have always found her very graceful and she would bring a lot of strength to the character. If Varun is playing the flamboyant character, there must be someone to watch his back. And that is how it is in the film as well. While shooting the film, I told her that I conned her into doing the film.
Why did you say that?
Because I told her I don’t know filmmaking. We’re only trying things here. And trust me, you really don’t know what you are doing. You are trying things and hoping they will fall in place. You follow your instinct, and that has to work on the day you are shooting a particular scene. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, you go back to the script, because back then, when you wrote it, it made sense. There are all kinds of possibilities when you are making a film.
This instinct that you speak of, does it get better as you make more films? Can you hone it?
Experience doesn’t really help in this, I feel. Experience teaches you to say “Action, cut, green screen". All those technical things. But ultimately, it’s a new day every time. It’s a new film, new story, new scene, and you can only hope that this will work. I don’t know about others, but I am always unsure.
Does working with stars come with an extra baggage?
In my head, I always thought it would, but the myth broke when we started shooting. It was easy. It all depends on the individual and actors put their trust on you, which is a big thing.
What do you want to say through the protagonists Mamta and Mauji and their story?
That you should be happy, enjoy smaller joys, and trust yourself.
While writing the script, were the words “Made in India" part of the title?
It became part of it while writing. It came in the script. It was not imposed.
Are you worried that it will be seen as propagating what is essentially a government policy?
I am not too political, but is it a bad thing even if it does? A film also has a politics of its own. Is it bad propanganda?
Isn’t all propaganda bad?
Yes, all propaganda is bad. Attaching politics, or rather political parties to anything is weird. But even if it (the film) gets attached to something, there is nothing wrong as long as it reaches people and people take something of value from it… If it can put the seed of a thought in people and enable them to something, it is good enough.