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Bhavna justifies Dharam

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By: Avanti Dixit, IndiaFM
Friday, April 27, 2007
They say it is very important to have a vision to reach a particular destination. In the case of Bhavna Talwar it was no different. Even though her journey as a filmmaker has just begun with her film Dharam, she is already going places. Let the director introduce herself. "I come from an advertising background. I also did a bit of journalism. My first job was with Asian Age. I used to do beats like film, theatre, fashion. Advertising was a huge learning experience for me as you get to do a huge number of films in a shorter period of time. Processing a film is extremely cinematic because you get to communicate in a shorter period of time. Then of course I wanted to make films, so I gave up advertising and started educating myself about films at home. I watched a lot of European cinema. Not that I tried to ape it, I totally believe in the Indian style of story telling. The way we communicate through music and have a tradition of it through the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, we have come up from there. I believe that we are moving away from the essence, the poetry and music. That is something I want to get back to and incorporate that into our kind of storytelling".

Bhavana's debut film Dharam stars the real life couple Pankaj kapur and Supriya Pathak in lead roles. The duo was last seen together in Basu Chatterjee's Kamla Ki Maut almost 18 years back. Bhavana being an out and out city girl, what made her choose a subject like caste differences? Quip the director and we find out that she is not only here to make a film but to make a difference. "Actually it's a subject that is affecting all of us. While we keep saying that we are now moving away from all this we haven't. We want to know if our next door neighbour is a Muslim or a Christian. It affects everyone. When you hear a story like that it immediately touches you. And you feel yes this is the sort of statement I would like to make. If you have the opportunity, go ahead and do it".

And what is she trying to say through her debut vehicle Dharam? "It's a story of a very stanch Hindu pundit who lives in Benaras. He has lived all his life as per the scriptures of the Vedas. He adopts a little child and this child helps him get in touch with the reality of his way of life. Dharam as a word does not actually mean religion, if you think about it. Dharam actually means the ten fold paths that you take to salvation. Hinduism is not a religion; it is a way of life. There is no Hindu word for religion. So it's about finding the correct path. Because of the child the pundit comes to realize the true way of life.

Pankaj kapur and Supriya Pathak are two extremely talented actors. The director who is in awe of the real life couple talks about their character and working with them. "Pankaj kapur is playing pundit Chaturvedi. He has taken the character to another level. He is the patriarch and believes in control and decides on every aspect of his family's life. He is the head pundit of the thakur family. Every major decision as far as their lives are concerned is taken by this character. And by the books he is the one who is always correct. Then there is the wife who believes that she has to support her husband in whatever he does. She knows how to work her way around. Their relationship in the film is very beautiful because getting the pundit to agree to have this child in the house is something which the woman works on. She finds her way around, slowly and steadily. She finds ways to chip out the rough edges which keep saying no. And towards the end of the film when the pundit is completely lost she is the one who mirrors his mind and his thought and his conflict. She is the one who finally asks him the question what is actually our dharam?"

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