Happi, a movie helmed by Bhavna Talwar, will be streaming on Zee 5 from Dec 25. The film stars Pankaj Kapur, Supriya Pathak, Hrishitaa Bhatt and Nakul Vaid. Her husband Sheetal Talwar has produced the film. Bhavna has bagged a National Award for her splendid work in the movie, Dharm (2007).
A day before the film Happi goes live, we bring you a quick chat that we had with Bhavna Talwar.
How did you come up with this film and where did it stem from?
Pankaj Kapur had discussed a short story with me which we had called Awasthi and it was a very sweet story. So, I asked him if I could make a film on it. We started developing the story, it took its own turns and became an interesting film about this man who's happy in his world but is unhappy in his pursuit for happiness. We named it Happi. It’s a take on Charlie Chaplin's style of story-telling. There's dialogue in this movie, it's not a silent film. But there are several moments where we would see a character alone in his room, in his meagre surroundings, comfortable with his life. That man in the context of Bombay city is what this film is about.
But weren't you tempted to make a silent film considering it's a take on Chaplin's story-telling style?
This is a little tribute to Chaplin. There are some sequences where we created a setup of those sorts. We allowed Pankaj Kapur as an actor to play in those moments. Pankaj's name is Happi in the movie. I can’t keep the film totally silent. We are in 2020!
How long did it take you to shoot this film?
We shot the film in 60 days. I had worked on the music of this film with a music director who I wouldn't like to name and everybody was ready to head to Prague to record a symphony orchestra. But this very talented man from Calcutta, developed cold feet last minute.
Why were you going to Prague?
Because I wanted to record the western style of background score. The songs we had recorded were already shot and interestingly, this music director while he was doing the background score of the film, had randomly told me a story about how Ilayaraaja had re-recorded the songs that were already shot for a particular film and was a genius. Next thing, my music director just abandoned the film. I was completely heartbroken, in fact, shattered. He dumped me an SMS. I don't think he believed in himself. I really needed someone who understood the concept of Mickey Mouse.
Then, very sweetly, Balki got me in touch with Raja sir and he told me that he would re-record the song. My happiness knew no bounds.
Were Ilaiyaraaja’s songs better than what the earlier music director had created?
Absolutely! And the background score is also stunning, you must listen to it.
Did Pankaj Kapur get tensed when the music director abandoned Happi?
No. Pankaj gave me the story and he allowed me to do what I had to. He is not involved in the making of the film. He was there only as an actor.
You shot the film long ago, if I’m not wrong. All actors might be looking different now. What about the continuity?
When you see the film, you'll realise that it's not dated.
Why didn't you think of releasing the film on the silver screen?
Initially, we had given it a thought. But of course, Sheetal was busy doing Mausam, then there were films he did in UK, his priorities were different that time. This film somewhere got left behind (Read Sheetal’s tweet above, regarding this). And then as we evolved as filmmakers, we realised that to spend a lot of money on a small film like this, wouldn’t be really worth it.
What next after Happi?
Heidi, an international project.
Image Source:- twitter/BhavnaTalwar
Image Source:- twitter/BhavnaTalwar
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