Films on sex workers in India are not new, but Tikli and Laxmi Bomb is different

The movie won the best feature in the 10th edition of the Berlin Independent Film Festival.

 |  3-minute read |   09-03-2018
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Aditya Kripalani had no inclination to make movies, his primary aspiration being that of a writer. So he wrote copy for ads, poems, articles and three novels. And then he was struck by the filmmaking bug and began to write screenplays. “Now that I’ve made a feature film, I’m in love with filmmaking and I intend on making a lot more,” he said, adding, “I’d love to continue to write books when I want and make films when I want.”

The film Kripalani is talking about is Tikli and Laxmi Bomb, the story of which is drawn from his third novel. For a first-time filmmaker, Kripalani has made an immediate impact. The movie recently won the best feature in the 10th edition of the Berlin Independent Film Festival.

The Mumbai-set drama follows two sex workers who take charge of the business and run it keeping the interest of the women foremost. “The message that I wanted to give — how women can revolt and take over a part of the world — wouldn’t reach enough people only as a book as sadly the number of people who invest in an audiovisual medium outweighs the number of people who read,” said Kripalani as to why he chose to adapt his novel. “Film as a medium has enormous power to be able to evoke something deeper in people. You have so much more than just words at your disposal to make your point.”

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Films on sex workers have been made before from Chandni Bar to Chameli but Kripalani says that his debut treads in uncharted territory. “You get to see how if women decide to take over a part of the world, they’d do things differently,” he said.

In an industry that has always objectified them, Kripalani is keen to show their ordinariness too. Said Kripalani, “They are bothered about the number of likes they got on their latest post, (and have) a lot of fun when they’re together. I think on screen I enjoy watching women having fun, much more than men having fun as a gang. I’ve not chosen this subject to really carry a flag or be a torchbearer. But I’ve written a revolution story because in an independent film I can say the most acerbic story I want to.”

Kripalani spoke to sex workers to get a sense of their world and how they live in constant fear. “The lack of safety was appalling. But like strugglers in the film fraternity, their spirits are always high, which was endearing,” he said. “Those who need to face harsher realities often have a friendlier, easy going disposition, thanks to the fact that they need to increase the happiness quotient in their lives.”

Editor's note: The copy was amended after it was published.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

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Suhani Singh Suhani Singh @suhani84

The writer is Senior Associate Editor, India Today.

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