They say third time’s a charm, hopefully, a case for Rohan Shankar who collaborated with filmmaker Laxman Utekar once again for Mimi, starring Kriti Sanon and Pankaj Tripathi.
“Our understanding of each other's work has become stronger since the day we met for the first time. It always feels great as a writer when the director understands your vision and helps to portray it in reality in the best manner,” says Rohan, who has previously worked with Laxman for Lalbaugchi Rani and Luka Chuppi.
The narratives Rohan has penned down so far, feature subjects that are taboo in India. When asked if he’s drawn towards complex plotlines, he says, “I haven't set any aim. All my scripts have been inspired by real-life incidents or characters around me. It just happens so you can call it coincidental. But when the subjects came to me, I tried to explore each of them in detail.”
Rohan asserts that the script for Mimi was written without keeping any actors in mind. He conceptualized it in Rajasthan, which was picked as the film’s backdrop. It was only when the story was completed, Maddock Films founder and producer Dinesh Vijan along with Laxman took it to Kriti and Pankaj Tripathi.
“We all felt they were the best possible choice for the story. We always knew that for the character of Bhanu, we would require someone as good as Pankaj Ji. And for Mimi, we wanted someone like Kriti who is a good actor and suits the part of a beautiful girl who wants to be a heroine,” says Rohan.
Rohan’s scripts in Bollywood films usually involve a backdrop in the northern parts of India. Speaking on why Mimi has a similar setting, he says, “We had explored many states. As per the script, Mimi’s character is that of a dancer. While scouting for places, we came across Mandawa, which is three hours from Jaipur, and experienced the folk dancing culture. Then it came to our mind that what can be more organic than keeping the backdrop here. It's like a rivaaj wherein performances are organised in the evenings for tourists who come to visit. Hence, we chose Rajasthan.”
Bollywood hasn’t been new to the concept of surrogacy. Films like Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001), Doosri Dulhan (1983) and Filhaal (2002) to name a few, have also touched upon the same.
Not to mention, Mimi is the official Hindi adaptation of the Marathi film Mala Aai Vhhaychy!
So, what distinguishes this one? Rohan says, “It so happened that Laxman Utekar Sir shared an interesting idea with me about an adaptation of that story. I liked it and started working on it with a new approach. There are movies that revolve around the topic of surrogacy, but each one had a different plot to it, so does Mimi. We have not interfered in the core part of the original story which has been inspired by a real incident. But the rest is different, be it characters, dialogues, emotions, backdrop, humour, everything.”
He further adds that adaptations help elevate the status of regional films, but he’s no copycat as a writer.
“It helps regional cinema monetarily since people who intend to remake have to buy the rights and it also allows the original film to be noticed by a wider audience. If I’m involved in making an adaptation of any film, I would not copy it from scene to scene. I will always give it a fresh and relevant approach to the film,” says Rohan.
After working on back-to-back comedy dramas, Rohan wishes to explore the pure horror genre in India. He signs off by stating, “We have an audience that enjoys movies like The Conjuring and other classic horrors. In the south too, they have made some really good horror flicks. I would love to write for the Hindi audience.”