Insecurity has no age, says Filmmaker Durba Sahay

Director Durba Sahay on her new film Aavartan and why women filmmakers can easily make their mark in today’s film industry.

Published: 03rd September 2019 09:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd September 2019 09:07 AM   |  A+A-

(From left) Stills from Aavartan by (inset) director Durba Sahay of Patang (1993) fame.

(From left) Stills from Aavartan by (inset) director Durba Sahay of Patang (1993) fame.

Express News Service

Do you feel jealous as people once inspired by you write better than you?” Filmmaker Durba Sahay once asked Hans magazine’s editor Rajendra Yadav. While the acclaimed editor, who passed away in 2013, admitted to struggling with such thoughts, Sahay recollects what he told her, “Whenever something like this happens, more than jealousy, a sense of insecurity affects me. I feel now my student won’t talk to me and ignore me. But a few hours after those thoughts crossed my mind, I start to feel happy on the success of the student.”

That was a defining moment for Sahay. “Right then, I decided that someday, I will make a film exploring this theme,” she says. Sahay is now ready with the film – Aavartan – and is looking forward to send the film to the Cannes Film Festival. Acclaimed Kathak exponent Shovana Narayan stars in Aavartan with actors Sushma Seth and Sunit Razdan. Narayan essays the role of an acclaimed Kathak dancer Bhavna Saraswati whose disciple achieved overnight success. Saraswati grows insecure, and the narrative goes on to depict jealousy and envy the guru feels for the disciple. In equal dose, the film also touches upon the affection between guru-shishya relationship.

Sahay’s creative repertoire boasts of films like Patang that won the 1993 National Award for the Best Feature Film in Hindi. “Gautam Ghosh made it and I produced it. Those were interesting times. The location was in my home town Gaya, Bihar. Shabana Azmi, who starred in the film, with whom I became friends with, was very forthcoming in learning the tonal aspects of Bihari.”

Sahay then went onto direct five short films, all of which found a place in the Cannes film festivals. She divides her time between Delhi and Gaya, and among reading, writing and directing movies. “For a short while, when I was not making films, on the advice of Rajendra Yadav I began writing. During this time, I authored a book of short stories, Raftaar. On the reading front, I don’t have any fixed subjects, but I like to delve into writings of Premchand.”

In her opinion, there are just a handful of women filmmakers in India but this can be easily changed. She says, “Many people don’t know that nowadays even if you are not technically sound for making a film but have a good script, you can make a crew who would help you in those aspects. And many men in the industry follow this route.”


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