Meghna Gulzar on bringing the Aarushi Talwar murder to the screen
IKE all children of Bollywood pedigree, Meghna Gulzar’s arrival into the world of Hindi cinema was greeted with great anticipation. The daughter of lyricist-poet Gulzar and erstwhile actress Raakhee, Meghna’s début directorial, Filhaal (2002), dealt with surrogacy. Her sophomore film, Just Married (2007), explored an arranged marriage. Then, after a gap of seven years, during which she had a son and made a couple of documentaries, she felt ready to take the helm of Talvar. Based on the Aarushi Talwar double murder case, Talvar will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this month and release in India on October 2.
Are you nervous about being back in the spotlight and premiering at such a prestigious film festival?
It’s a bit like when you have a baby and everyone around you is forced to gush over it. Remember that episode of Friends where they are all looking at a baby and its not very nice looking and yet they have to say nice things about it – it’s that kind of nervousness. Toronto will be the first complete viewing of Talvar and that for in a country that it was not made. So I am nervous, but happy nervous.
How close to the real story, real events, and real investigation
is the script?
While I did the research, the script is by Vishal Bhardwaj and our challenge was to balance real people, their stories with legalities, etc, even though the script is entirely based on material readily available in the public domain. The challenge was to decide where to take cinematic liberties. The film presents three versions of the investigation. What was really important as well was that the casting should not be gimmicky at any level.
Did you stay connected with the industry during your break?
During the first two years of my son Samay’s life, I did not even watch TV. I was a fully hands-on mom. When I was 30 days away from my son, I watched many of the movies, but I am still always a little behind. During this break we also travelled and saw many lovely new places such as Italy. Now my son is in school and my mother is with him when he gets home which gives me the flexibility to work.
You wrote a book, Because He Is, on your father. Any plans to write one on your mother?
I can’t write with my mother. We would be fighting all the time and the book would never get completed!