DD: The Shaadi aims to adapt one of Hollywood’s favorite movies into a desi-inspired short film. With dance being such an integral part of Bollywood culture, I could not think of anything more perfect. Premiering in New York City on September 23, DD: The Shaadi is an exciting short film that builds a bridge between American and Indian culture.
Here’s a sneak-peek:
Badass co-directors Shivani Badgi and Raashi Desai talk about their experience creating this production.
1. Dirty Dancing is one of Hollywood’s most popular classics, especially when it comes to dancing. What about the movie inspired you, and how do you aim to make that come alive for your audience?
We love how the original Dirty Dancing is first a film with a heartfelt storyline and lovable characters.The dancing in the movie has such a big element of “fun” in it. Even where they are doing more difficult partner work or lifts, you can still see how much they are enjoying the music and performing so effortlessly. For us, we wanted to create that same environment where even after we created this unique dance world for them that would combine Indian elements of dancing with Western, it would still feel extremely flawless and the actors could still enjoy performing them.
2. Having two female South Asian co-directors is pretty rare! What advice can you give our readers looking to explore their creative side and pursue nontraditional careers?
Do it, do it, do it! Both of us left everything and followed our passion and it is extremely rewarding. Be prepared for a life of a lot of hard work, working extremely late hours with no sleep, and sometimes being the only people who are working through the week 24/7. When you voluntarily drive an hour to and from NYC for rehearsal every night, getting home and sleeping at 2 or 3 am, all with a smile on your face, you know you are where you’re meant to be. This journey was tiring but it’s all I want to do. When you find something like that, something you just want to do over all else, there’s always a way to make it your life. Explore it, try it, work at it, because you never know where that can lead you!
3. Tell us a little more about your amazing cast and crew. Who are they and how did you cast them?
Our amazing cast went through a series of two auditions. We had them do acting, dancing, and chemistry tests, so we could find the people that would be perfect for the roles. We have Sharayu Mahale as Sana (Baby), Nikhil Saboo as Roy (Johnny), Pia Sawhney as Vani (Penny), Rohit Thakre as Ishaan (Billy), Chinmay Tavargeri Kumarji (Kellerman), Suchi Gulati as Raina (Lisa), Kalpana Mehta as Mrs. Soman (Mom), and Sudhir Kulkarni as Dr. Soman (Dad). We went through about a month of intense rehearsals everyday so everyone could really get into their characters. Our entire cast was so amazing during filming and really made our vision for the film come true.
These cast members really came from everywhere. Some were friends who had shown interest, some were family friends, and some were complete strangers who stole our hearts. We’re so pleased to say that we have truly become a close group of friends who look for excuses to hang out post the production of the movie. Having a team that craves to spend time together has made this process so fun and we feel that it translates to the screen!
4. What was your favorite part of filming this short film?
From the time we through of this idea sitting in the car in Princeton to now, the premiere, it has been such a whirlwind. Because we were always on some what of a time crunch, we were really immersed in the entire movie, in rehearsals, in all the planning, which was an amazing feeling. We kind of felt like we were in the Shaadi ourselves for a few months and that is something we are really going to miss.
We loved the moments during rehearsals where both of us directors would sit and try to iron out some kinks in the script and from the corner we could see the cast goofing off and having a great time. Seeing them enjoy their time together really warmed our hearts and it felt like we had created something really special.
5. We’re all obviously very excited about the film’s upcoming premiere. For those who can’t make it, where else can Dirty Dancing: The Shaadi be viewed?
After our New York Premiere this Saturday, we are planning to have a couple more premieres to really put our production company and film out there. We want everyone to be able to experience the magic of the Shaadi! After that, we will be releasing it to the public, so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all the updates!
Support the arts in the South Asian community by sponsoring DD: The Shaadi on their GoFundMe page.
For a behind the scenes look at what went down, watch here:
Ashni is a Social Media Manager, Digital Strategist and Lifestyle Blogger living in the Big Apple. Currently, she develops and executes digital strategy for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, which is a political and legal non-profit advocating for democracy and equal justice for all. She is also a professional Bollywood dancer who has performed at venues across the country such as Times Square, Madison Square Garden, Global Citizen Festival and more. When she’s not navigating the Twitterverse or dancing through life in classic Bollywood fashion, you can find her eating, laughing and shopping her way across New York City or better yet, traveling the world! You can follow her adventures on her blog, as well as Instagram and Twitter.
It’s never a dull moment with your girl gang; some shots and conversations about sex, right? If you agree, you’re in for a treat with Karan Boolani’s directorial venture, “Thank You For Coming,” which had its world premiere at the 48th annual Toronto International Film Festival. This coming-of-age story unapologetically begs the answer to a very important question: Why should women be left high and dry in bed?
Kanika Kapoor (Bhumi Pednekar) is a successful, 32-year-old, Delhi food blogger who makes a huge revelation on her 30th birthday: She’s never experienced an orgasm. This dirty little secret (no pun intended!) has now become detrimental to her self-esteem. She feels so down and out that she even accepts the proposal of a very boring suitor, Jeevan-ji (Pradhuman Singh Mall).
But, it’s not like she hasn’t tried. Kanika’s been a monogamist since her teenage years, starting with puppy love in high school — unfortunately, their sexual endeavors coined her as “thandi” (cold) by her first boyfriend — all the way to dating in her adulthood. But, regardless of how great any relationship was, nobody had her achieve the big O. All until the night of her engagement with Jeevan, when the drunk bride-to-be leaves the party for her hotel room and gets into bed. What follows is her very first orgasm. Ghungroo, finally, tute gaye! But, with whom?
The morning after, an initially-satisfied Kanika works herself into a frenzy of confusion and frustration as she makes her way through the list of potential men who could’ve been in her room the night before.
Was it one of her exes? She’d simply invited them to come to wish her well.
Was it her fiance?
Or, God forbid, was it actually the rabdi-wala (ice cream man)?
Boolani takes a straight-forward and on-the-nose approach to drive the point home. There are no cutting corners, no mincing words, and no hovering over “taboo topics.” The dialogue is raunchy, the characters are horny, and no one is apologetic. It’s important for a film like “Thank You For Coming” to be so in-your-face because the subject of women achieving orgasms can’t really be presented in any other way. Anything more conservative in the narrative would feel like the makers are being mindful of addressing something prohibited. And there is no room for taboos here.
But, there is room for a more open conversation on the reasons why many women feel the need to suppress their sexual needs in bed; how generally, women have been brought up to be the more desirable gender and hence not cross certain boundaries that would make them appear too brash. The fight for the right of female pleasure would have been a little more effective if the modesty around the topic was addressed. But, that doesn’t mean that the point is remiss.
The plot moves swiftly along, never lulling too long over everything that seems to be going wrong in Kanika’s life. “Thank You For Coming” is full of all the right tropes that belong in a comedic, masala film, too; the direction very seamlessly takes classic fixings like the abhorrent admirer (enter Jeevan-ji) and effectively plugs them into this contemporary feature that will remain perpetually relevant.
And now, let’s come to the star of the show: the well-rounded characters.
Producer Rhea Kapoor has mastered the formula of a good chick flick and her casting is the magic touch. She’s got a knack for bringing together the right actors — cue, “Veere Di Wedding.” So, just when we think that it doesn’t get better than the veere, Kapoor surprises us with a refreshing trio — they’re modern, they’re rebellious, and they say it like it is. Thank you, Dolly Singh (Pallavi Khanna) and Shibani Bedi (Tina Das) for being the yin to Kanika’s yang — and for the bag full of sex toys your homegirl oh-so needed!
To complete Kanika’s story, we have her single mother, Miss. Kapoor, brilliantly portrayed by Natasha Rastogi. She is the face of a headstrong and self-assured matriarch and a symbol of the modern-day Indian woman. Rastogi’s character exemplifies the fact that with access to education, and a stable career, women do not need to mold their lives around men.
I love the fact that Miss. Kapoor is almost villainized by her own mother (played by Dolly Ahluwalia) in the film because she had a child out of wedlock in her yesteryears, she chooses to remain single, and she brings her boyfriends around the house to hang out with. But, there’s a point to be made here. The fact that Kanika’s mother is being antagonized just highlights that she is challenging the norms and pushing the envelope for what is socially acceptable for women. Miss. Kapoor definitely deserves an honorable mention.
Pednekar’s unexpected yet impeccable comic timing is the highlight of the entire film. Everything from being a damsel in sexual distress to a woman who unabashedly chases self-pleasure, Pednekar puts on a genuinely entertaining act for the audience. From being portrayed as a high-schooler to the 32-year-old, independent woman, Pednekar is fit for each role. Her naivety as a teen wins you over, as does her gusto as a full-blown adult with a broken ankle and some very messy relationships. This also speaks volumes about the versatility of her looks.
And, of course, Pednekar is not new to films that address social topics, but “Thank You For Coming” challenges her to balance Kanika’s droll with the responsibility of delivering a very important message to the viewers. Mission accomplished, Ms. Pednekar!
“Thank You For Coming” is a through-and-through entertainer. Everything from the casting — a huge shout out to the rest of the supporting cast including Anil Kapoor, Shehnaaz Gill, Karan Kundra, Kusha Kapila, Gautmik, and Sushant Divkigar, without whom this roller coaster would have lacked the thrills — to the homey locations and even the glitz and glamor in the song sequences, they’re all perfect pieces to help drive home a powerful message: Smash patriarchy!
“Thank You For Coming” is a one-of-a-kind Bollywood film that is not only a through-and-through entertainer but also an inspiring story about a young woman, Kanika Kapoor (played by ace actress Bhumi Pednekar), who sets out to seek pleasure in bed; and, she’s not settling for anything less!
The film premiered at the 48th annual Toronto International Film Festival to an audience that was impressed with so many facets of the film — the comic timing of the impeccable cast, the subject matter of female pleasure, and the fantastic direction by debutant Karan Boolani — just to name a few!
“Ghoomer,” R. Balki’s latest directorial venture, had its world premiere at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2023 (IFFM), earlier this month, and the moment was nothing short of memorable. Lead actors Abhishek Bachchan, Saiyami Kher, and Angad Bedi, were present to unveil their labor of love to the world, and all three were left speechless at the reaction of the global audience; the film received a standing ovation on opening night, leaving the team extremely emotional — a feeling that Bachchan tells Brown Girl is one he cannot put into words.
“Ghoomer,” tells the story of Anina (played by Kher), an exceptional cricket player who loses her right hand in an accident. Downtrodden and with no will to live, Anina finds a mentor and coach in Padam Singh Sodhi (played by Bachchan), an insensitive and brash failed cricketer who helps her turn her life and career around; Anina also has the unwavering support of her husband, Jeet (played by Bedi). Sodhi teaches Anina unorthodox techniques to make her mark on the cricket ground once again. Enter, ghoomer, a new style of bowling.
Balki checks all the boxes with this feature — his protagonist is a female athlete, the film is his way of giving back to cricket (a new form of delivery), and he highlights the idea that nothing is impossible for paraplegic athletes. The heart of Balki’s film is in the right place — Kher mentions that the film is meant to be more of an inspirational movie and less of a sports-based movie. One can only imagine the impact that a film like this would have on an audience that’s hungry for meaningful cinema.
And, to chat more about “Ghoomer,” Brown Girl Magazine sat down with the stars of the show. Bachchan, Bedi, and Kher came together to talk about their inspiring characters, the filming journey, and how their film aspires to change the landscape of cricket and paraplegic athletes in the country. It was all that, with a side of samosas.
Take a look!
The featured image is courtesy of Sterling Global.