Soumik Sen’s Gulaabi Gang is remarkable for the mileage it garnered even before the film’s shooting started. There were rumours about the storyline being based on the Gulaabi Gang of Bhundelkand, headed by Sampat Pal, who used to fight for women’s rights. But first time director, Sen rubbishes it with, “It’s not even inspired by Gulaabi Gang. It’s just characteristic of the colour pink, which has always stood for women’s emancipation, like the pink chaddi revolution. It is a conglomeration of this and Smita Patil’s character in Manthan. I want to call it a complete work of fiction,” he insists.
The diva factor
The film also marks the union of Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla for the first time on screen. Madhuri plays Rajjho, the fiery protagonist and Juhi makes her debut as an antagonist with the film. “It was a virtual clash of the titans. I was amazed by Juhi’s transformation as she is known to play light hearted characters. She plays a completely black character,”says the director who previously worked as a journalist (Business Standard) and started his career as a script writer for films like Ru-ba-Ru, Meera Bhai Not out, Antony Kaun Hai and Hum Tum Aur Ghost. Sen has written the story of Gulaabi Gang with dialogues penned by Amitosh Nagpal–“Nagpal has brought in that essence of the region and has worked hard to pen the right dialect. I didn’t want the dialogues to be too hardcore as that means watching it with subtitles. That would take away the essence of the movie,” says the director. It also showcases Madhuri in an action avatar with fiery hand-to-hand combat and she will be heard spouting expletives in Hindi.
Scripts, blogs and more
Meanwhile, he is also scripting for directors like Soojith Sircar, Anubhav Sinha and Anurag Basu’s latest biopic on Kishore Kumar. Films apart, he is a keen blogger, foodie and a diehard fan of Kishore Kumar and Satyajith Ray. He says his blogs that mostly feature poetry are often an outlet to vent his socio-political ideologies.
— Neelima Menon