Madhureeta Anand on her film Kajarya and why the domestic version is nine minutes shorter
THERE are people who fear consequences and then there are those who don’t. Among the latter is director Madhureeta Anand who, through her movie Kajarya, tackles the hard-hitting subject of female infanticide. She wants to get people talking about the issue, irrespective of any backlash she might receive. After doing the international rounds (“we like it when we have validation from international festivals”), a nine-minute shorter version will hit screens next month. “The international audience’s perception of Indian villages is different. Not every village is a slum, like the ones in Slumdog Millionaire. To make sure this comes across, the international version explores the village visually. The 98-minute Indian version is devoid of these visuals, so it runs shorter.”
Kajarya is about a woman in Jharkhand’s Jhar Jhar district who kills newborn girls and a Delhi reporter, looking for a ‘breaking story’. Meenu Hooda, who plays the opium-using child-killer Kajarya, observed opium addicts to prepare for the role.
The film opened to packed houses at all festivals. In fact, when it was screened at the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights Film Festival last year, Anand was requested to give up her seat for an elderly lady.
What next? “My next, Kotha No 22, is a black comedy about sex. We have Gulshan Devaiah (Hate Story 2), Patralekha (Citylights) and we are in talks with Vinay Pathak, too,” concludes the director.
Kajarya is expected to release on December 4.
— Seema Rajpal