Dil Juunglee director Aleya Sen says her rom-com has a message for commitment-phobic youngsters

Seema Sinha

Mar,11 2018 10:10:14 IST

Bollywood has seen an influx advertising professionals in past couple of years. Joining the club which already comprises the likes of R Balki, Gauri Shinde, Nitesh Tiwari, Dibakar Banerjee, Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, is Aleya Sen. Her film Dil Juunglee, a rom-com, hit the theatres on 9 March.

Aleya Sen. Image from Facebook/Aleya Sen

Aleya Sen. Image from Facebook/Aleya Sen

While Sen, who started out very young in advertising, found the filmmaking process similar to creating ad films when it came to the technicalities, it was the emotional bonding with the crew that left her wanting for more. “It’s very different to make a feature film and I realized that later on. What really makes a difference is when you shoot an ad, you shoot for two to three or maximum five days and then you move on. My first schedule for the feature film was in London at a stretch for 40 days and by default you start bonding with the crew. I never thought that there is going to be an emotional impact of shooting a film, and when I came back, for a very long time I was missing the family that was created,” says Sen straight from the heart.

Dil Juunglee was shot in Delhi and London and it is the reflection of Sen's own environment, her own perspective of what love is albeit “it is treated in a funny, romantic and comic space”. “But the idea came from my feeling that when you are younger, your understanding of love is influenced from books, movies, your parents, friends...Then you meet a person with a lot of expectations that you have gathered, sometimes it matches, sometimes it doesn’t. As you grow older your understanding of life kind of evolves, there is friendship in it, there is compatibility in it. Same thing I have tried to portray in comic and light space. That is the seed of thought,” explains Sen, who wrote the film along with her sister.

“Most of the characters are from our real lives. Nobody would have shown them yet and hence I feel that the film is fresh. We had these common friends, somebody’s ex, somebody's present...all these things came together as characters but not the story, of course. That is how we planted them,” she adds.
While Taapsee has been seen in some badass avatars on the big screen off-late, she will be seen as an urban romantic girl in this rom-com. In Taapsee's own words she plays a slightly immature girl living in her own la la land. “Taapsee’s Koroli Nair is a fragment of my imagination and she grasped it so beautifully. I can’t imagine any other actress in the part. She is not a romantic person in real life but her character is smitten in love. Her character likes to write diary, she reads a lot of love stories but people make fun of such girls. These girls believe in a perfect bubble,” says the director. “Taapsee is a director’s baby. I gave her the script and all I had to do was explain who is Koroli Nair. I had a proper character description so there was no conflict from her side about the role. I was very specific about her look. Taapsee had never cut her hair so I told her that for second half I need something interesting and that she’ll have to chop her hair. I wanted her eyes light and she had to wear spectacles with a certain frame. She completely surrendered herself as an actress,” Sen added.

Further talking about Taapsee’s contrasting image in the film, the director says, “To see an actor in the same light is predictable. When you pick up that person and put them in a different space it can have its own backlash but as a filmmaker I would like to surprise my audience. When I shot the film, Pink had not released but Baby was out. I had a very fresh view about Taapsee as I had not seen any of her films. I had her on my set and my judgment was based on that. I guess freshness comes because you don’t have that baggage of other information so I wasn’t inhibited at all.”

Her film’s leading man, Saqib is yet to be discovered, says Sen. “He is amazing, he’s like one energy ball and I had to really calm him down. He is like a child. I am a first time filmmaker and have worked on this film purely from my heart. The only support I had was to have producers who were convinced to put in that kind of money behind you and were convinced about the casting I am doing,” said Sen.

And what worked for Sen immensely was the “magical chemistry” between the lead pair. “We were looking for the main cast but everything else had fallen into place. In the meantime I directed a music video with Saqib and Taapsee. Coincidentally, all three of us are from Delhi, and when we were shooting on sets, I actually thought that they are friends from a very long time because they had many things in common to talk about. They were yakking throughout off camera and there was an amazing chemistry. Earlier I thought it was that professional chemistry required to create before camera but even off camera the two kept yakking non-stop like buddies. Later, Saqib casually told me that they met only on set and that I found magical. I can direct actors, I can make them understand the character and nuances I want but you can’t create that magical chemistry. This was very natural for me,” said Sen.

By way of her film, Sen, who is an absolute romantic at heart, aims at giving a message to those youngsters who are commitment phobic. “I don’t understand when youngsters say that they don’t want to get tied down, they need their space or are scared of commitment. I always wonder why. Through my film I am trying to say that when you are young, you can get jitters, but just let yourself feel the love. It is really not that bad, it is fun. This film reflects a lot of me because I am a person who loves to be in love,” says Sen with a hearty laugh.

Interestingly, Sen, who shot with Shah Rukh Khan for an ad in the recent past, has him on her mind for a romantic film as she feels that the superstar is responsible for an entire generation to believe in love. “I am a diehard Shah Rukh Khan fan and I understand the magic of working with him on the sets. Forget about telling him that I want to work with him, I couldn’t even tell him that I was his huge fan. But I certainly want to do a love story with him,” she says. “Just like the ads, I can’t stick to any one genre. My next script is a drama but there will always be love in my film,” she giggles.

But as of now the budding filmmaker is curious about people’s response to her first release. “I am anxious because I want to know from people. I have enjoyed the shooting process and maybe because it is the first time that people will watch and judgment will be on my face,” she winds up hoping for the best.

Updated Date: Mar 11, 2018 10:10 AM