‘Laapataa Ladies’ Is All About Celebrating The Power Of Women: Writer Sneha Desai

New Delhi: “Laapataa Ladies” is all about celebrating the power of women and also men who stand up for the right thing, says writer Sneha Desai.

Goodness resides in everyone and that’s what Kiran Rao’s latest directorial effort aims to underscore, said Desai, who has penned the screenplay and dialogues of the movie.

Set in a fictitious state called Nirmal Pradesh, “Laapataa Ladies” is a story of two brides Phool and Pushpa, who accidentally get swapped on a train. One is taken away home by the groom, while the other is left stranded at a railway station.

“Goodness resides within you and one will partake and stand up for the right thing in whatever situation they are in. As much as we celebrate the power of women in ‘Laapataa Ladies’, we also celebrate the power of men who stand up and are willing to shoulder their responsibility,” Desai told PTI in an interview here.

“We wanted to celebrate the goodness in people. So, even though the film contains a lot a feminist message, we’ve not gone through the male bashing because the male characters are very good, barring a couple who are villains. There is a part of them which is so good, naive, and innocent that we wanted to celebrate,” she added.

“Laapataa Ladies”, which released on Friday, stars Pratibha Ranta and Nitanshi Goel as the lost brides, and Sparsh Shrivastav as the hapless groom. It has opened to good reviews and earned Rs 3.85 crore globally in gross box office collection within two days.

Referring to the satirical treatment that the makers have given to Biplab Goswami’s original story on which the film is based, Desai said the team didn’t want to go down the “dark alleys” with the idea of women getting lost.

The 42-year-old writer, who has contributed to popular TV shows like “Pushpa Impossible” and the new “Wagle Ki Duniya”, said she grew up on films by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Sai Paranjpye. Both veteran filmmakers are known for making middle-of-the road cinema delivering a social message through drama and humour.

“I’ve grown up watching their cinema. I enjoy it, it’s been a staple all my life. Having come from theatre, I understand the pulse of the audience. When you are performing live, you exactly know what moments the audience enjoys.

“It’s also like maths because you have to give them the right amount of emotion and suspense, and it has to be a correct blend,” said the Mumbai-born Desai who has performed in Gujarati stage shows.

Through “Laapataa Ladies”, she said the intent was to make the audience introspect about social conditioning.

“We wanted people to unlearn societal conditioning and learn that things always change for the better. If you have the gumption to take that first step, you are just one step away from the life that you want to live.

“So, characters like Phool and Pushpa, who are victims of their situation of their upbringing, or the strata in which they live, if they can have the audacity to dream and aspire for a life, all of us are way too privileged to be complaining. So, going for your dreams is what we wanted (to talk about).” Desai boarded the film, produced by Aamir Khan Productions and Rao’s Kindling Productions, back in 2020. Former couple Rao and Aamir Khan had the script, based on Goswami’s story “Two Brides”, with them since 2018.

The screenwriter said she happened to meet Khan and Rao over a narration of a film, which got a bit delayed owing to the pandemic. The duo later roped her in to develop “Laapataa Ladies”.

Desai said they have retained the essence of the original story while adding a dose of humour and layers to the characters to make the film entertaining for cinema-going audiences.

“Biplab’s story had a lot of meat. We stayed pretty much true to what he had written. What we changed was the tone of the story. It was in a more real and dramatic zone. We consciously were trying to put humour, satire and a lot of entertainment into it.

“Whatever the message that we wanted to give through the film had to be in a light and frothy manner, so that people don’t feel that it is a preachy kind of a film.” One of the prominent characters that Desai has introduced into the story is of the teaseller Manju Maai, played by Chhaya Kadam, best known for her work in “Sairat” and “Nude”.

The writer also said they gave agency to the character of inspector Shyam Manohar, who investigates the puzzling case. Ravi Kishan has played this role in the film.

Working with Rao and Khan was a creatively enriching experience for Desai, she said.

She described the duo as “generous souls” who gave her the freedom to develop the plot of the film.

“The agreements and the disagreements happened, but everything was so logical. It was done in a democratic way,” said Desai, who has served as a writer on Khan’s son Junaid’s acting debut film “Maharaj”. 

(This report has been published as part of an auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)

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