Takalkar’s Film The Bright Day at TIFF
By A Correspondent
September 13 is going to be a big day for Mohit Takalkar. That’s the day when his directorial debut movie, The Bright Day, opens at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The 90-minute Hindi movie (with English subtitles) will be screened under ‘City to City’ section of TIFF and is in good company. It shares spotlight with Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai and Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, quite a feat for the first-timer Takalkar.
No wonder then that the Pune-based theatre artist is thrilled. And he has good reason to be. Takalkar’s journey towards making this movie started back in 2004 when he set off to travel across parts of India along with friend Sarang Sathaye (who plays the lead, Shiv in The Bright Day).
The two had no particular destination to reach. “We thought we would stay if we liked a place, or else we’d just go on,” says Takalkar. And so they were on the move for two months. Starting from Jaisalmer - a city located in Western India’s Rajasthan state, the two stayed on the road until they hit the ‘holy city’ of Varanasi in Central India’s Uttar Pradesh state. They also visited other prominent cities on their way – Jodhpur and Jaipur in Rajasthan and Allahabad and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. But it was in Jaisalmer and Varanasi that they found most the inspiration.
The journey was one of self-exploration and introspection for the two. “There was hardly anytime when we spoke to each other. We were in our own space as each one of us took in our surroundings,” says Takalkar. And it was these observations and experiences that make up The Bright Day.
Takalkar’s journey took eight years to make it to the big screen. Back in the mid-2000s, shooting a movie in the conventional style was way too expensive. “I had a story to tell, and the best way to tell it was through a movie. I knew that it could not be expressed to the fullest through theatre or via a literary medium,” says Takalkar.
But with time (and new and more affordable technology), The Bright Day was eventually shot mostly from September to December last year, using a DSLR camera. While it was difficult to bring to life their experience from eight years ago, Takalkar says both he and Sathaye are both more matured as artists now to be able to do more justice to their own story.
The film is about today’s youth – their relationships, their dreams and the restlessness and angst, that according to Takalkar, most of present day’s experiences of young people. And, from what the trailer suggests, this is conveyed through spellbinding photography by Amol Gole as there are breathtaking shots of some of the most picturesque parts of India.
According to Takalkar, the movie is supposed to have captured the essential environs of three cities it was mostly shot in – Pune, Jaisalmer and Varanasi.
Drawing from his theatre background, Takalkar’s film is made up of a string of well-known stage and movie personalities. In addition to Sathaye, The Bright Day also stars the classic Rajit Kapur, Shernaz Patel and Shiv’s parents. The popular theatre personality Dr. Mohan Agashe plays the grand father. The film is produced by Abhijeet Bhosale and has music by Benedict Taylor (who has composed for The Girl in Yellow Boots in the past).As for Takalkar, this may be his first directorial step into films, one that he has also scripted and edited. But, it comes in a long continuum of work as an Editor in films.
With his Masters Degree in Theatre Practice from the University of Exeter, UK, Takalkar has to his credit more than a dozen feature films in Hindi and Marathi as an editor as well as sound designer.
He has assisted eminent director duo Sunil Sukthankar and Sumitra Bhave on their award winning film Devraai and celebrated Director Tim Supple on A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Public 1: Sept 13 | 06:30 pm | Cinema 3 (TIFF Bell Lightbox) Photo Opportunities available
Public 2: Sept 14 | 12:00 noon | Scotiabank 11 (Scotiabank Theatre)
Public 3: Sept 15 | 04:00 pm | Cineplex Odeon Yonge and Dundas4