“Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” writers Siddharth-Garima had announced their directorial debut, “Dukaan”, in October last year. But with the COVID-19 lockdown, they are looking at many hurdles in the way.
“The process (of working on their film) has become slower due to the expected pile-up that would be caused by the lockdown. The dates have to be renegotiated with, and subsequently the future steps,” Siddharth Singh told IANS, and shared that they intend to shoot the film this year, provided the situation gets better.
Luckily, they hadn’t begun shooting for the film before the lockdown came into effect in March. The film was in the casting stage.
“The casting is a process that’s still on and we can’t reveal any names as of now. But yes, casting has been difficult. Apart from the fact that we are debut directors, it’s also a ‘debut concept’. Since we don’t really have a reference point, it’s been a difficult path,” he said.
For their first film as directors, they have picked the subject of commercial surrogacy.
“A screenwriter’s life is similar to that of a surrogate mother’s. When you hand out a shoot draft to a director, you become the surrogate mother. The theme resonated with us. So, we set out for research to the heart of surrogacy in India — Anand in Gujarat. The research, the reality, the nuance, the misconception about surrogacy was mindboggling. It’s our ode to everyone who creates something original and the importance of a simple thing called ‘credit’ for it. Also, commercial surrogacy as a subject has never been explored in Indian cinema. The novelty drew us to the subject,” said Garima Wahal.
For them, it’s a natural progression to turn directors.
“We feel a director’s job apart from handling, managing and directing the cast and the crew, is to execute (shoot) the written word in a manner which translates it to the audience. A screenwriter, of any kind, is the first visionary on the film. He understands, every character, the movement, the motifs of the thought. Hence, we thought direction would enable us to show the vision behind the idea in the best possible manner, and in a manner that we feel would strike a chord with the audience,” said Garima.
Apart from this movie, the writers, also lyricists, have other projects lined up.
“Our next is ‘Jersey’ with Shahid Kapoor and (director) Gowtam Tinnanuri. We have written the dialogues of the film. Then there’s a crossover project with a Los Angeles-based production house which is almost ready to go on the floors. Another film with Akshay Kumar sir is in the scripting stage. As far as lyrics go, we are very. Also, a little idealistic, as we don’t really write lyrics for remixes, which is the trend. We write lyrics for our own screenplays and for entire albums like ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas’,” said Siddharth.
Meanwhile, the lockdown has given the duo ample time to create more stories that they want to tell.
“We also plan to soon start a content hub — a production house that would be driven by ideas and content,” said Garima.