Director Ritesh Menon says it was a dream to have filmmaker Prakash Jha as the producer of his first film Crazy Cukkad Family as he gave him creative freedom. The comedy film, starring lyricist-composer Swanand Kirkire in his lead acting debut, Chak De! actress Shilpa Shukla, Kushal Punjabi and Siddharth Sharma is produced by Rajneeti director’s Prakash Jha Productions.
Ritesh said he couldn’t believe his luck when Jha approved his script and decided to back it. “Prakash Jha is every new director’s dream. I had taken my script to many producers but it did not work out but one day I sent it to Prakash Jha office and I got a call in the afternoon itself that he wanted to meet me to discuss the film.”
Even though he was a newcomer, Ritesh said he was given full freedom to pursue his line of direction. “He gave me full freedom to work the way I wanted to. He was always involved but never interfered. He trusted me,” said Ritesh. Crazy Cukkad Family is a humorous take on the inter-personal relationships within a family. Though he had not intended it to make a comedy but it turned out to be one because of its entertaining script. “I knew it was an entertaining story, I had narrated it to some of my friends and they enjoyed it so I felt like telling the story but I did not think like I had to develop it as a comedy. The situations, dialogues and characters in the film are funny. I am hopeful people will accept the movie,” he said.
Ritesh credited his footing in the industry by assisting cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan with whom he worked in films like Tahaan and Before the Rains. “Whatever I am today, it is because of Santosh Sivan. He has been a great mentor. I was not only an assistant director for Tahaan, I even wrote the film and only because he insisted. “He used to make me write a couple of scenes every day from seven in the morning till the evening. Though I cribbed then, I am grateful to him today for making me slog out. That gave me a better understanding of filmmaking and now I have some good work to show in my resume,” Ritesh said.
Crazy Cukkad Family releases on January 16.