Director Suresh Triveni says he tried to take advantage of the huge acting potential of Bollywood star Vidya Balan with his latest film Jalsa.
Triveni, who had worked with the actor on his maiden-length feature film, the hit 2017 film Tumhari Sulu, said he was looking forward to working with Balan after the success of the first film.
“My greed to explore more aspects of this actress kept me pushing for stories with which I could approach her. I wanted to repeat this experience of working with her. “It was a conscious choice that I wanted to make another film with her,” Triveni told PTI in an interview with Zoom.
“My first description on Vidya for both films was that Tumhari Sulu is an emotion, Jalsa is a plot,” he added.
Described as “an extremely fascinating and seductive conflict story”, Jalsa follows the lives of a top journalist (Balan) and her cook, who plays Shefali Shah.
Although he shared a great working relationship with Vidya Balan, Triveni said he wanted to like the script of the latest film.
Balan had initially said no to Jalsa and only after a while agreed to be part of it.
“We had a great experience working at Tumhari Sulu. After that, we constantly discussed various topics and finally when I approached her with this topic and told her, she liked it.
“But he was not in a state of mind to accept it at that particular time. I had to accept it. “Then, after six months, around the first wave of the pandemic, he heard it again (history) and committed himself to the project,” he added.
Regarding Shah’s choice in the film, Triveni said that the Delhi Crime star is his favorite actor of all time and he was in awe of her art.
“I was saying, what would I like to do if I got Vidya and Shefali in a movie, I would like to watch it as an audience? The answer was yes. And that’s how it started. When I approached her with the script, she said she wanted to do it. I was excited. “I definitely wanted her in the movie,” said Triveni.
Jalsa, the director added, is a film full of gray characters.
“Every character in this movie has a gray tint. They (Balan and Shah) are all victims of an event but they are extremely strong characters. “They are fearless mothers and they are unpredictable.”
The director said personally as a narrator, he likes to enter the realm of the moral dilemma, something he has done with Jalsa.
However, at the same time, he was careful not to think about it, as this would mean that they were trying to talk about something very deep.
“On a daily basis we all have various moral dilemmas. And with this story, I had the opportunity to explore it. The story has many layers, there is an incident that triggers, it creates a wave in different lives. Vidya and Shefali characters are affected and have to make some choices.
Jalsa premiered on Amazon Prime Video on Friday.
Asked why he chose to release the film on the OTT platform, Triveni said his goal was to reach a wider audience.
“We all love the big screen, but we also want a bigger audience and what better way than to have Amazon Prime where people from 240 countries can watch the movie. Everyone would love to be on the big screen.
“It was a conscious call (to release Jalsa at OTT). During the pandemic, we all prospered in it (OTT). “I want to experience this as a narrator and what it means to tell a story on a platform like this.”
The Jalsa also features actors such as Manav Kaul, Rohini Hattangadi, Iqbal Khan, Shafeen Patel, Shrikant Mohan Yadav, Surya Kasibhatla and Vidhatri Bandi among others.
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