'Aisha' is not women-centric: Director

By Dibyojyoti Baksi

Mumbai, July 11 (IANS) Contrary to popular impression, director Rajshree Ojha says her film "Aisha" is not women-centric even though it has a woman protagonist. She also feels that Bollywood has copied Hollywood films for too long and it's time to reverse the trend.

"The protagonist may be a woman, but it's not a women-centric film. It's an ensemble piece and a romantic comedy," Rajshree told IANS in an interview.

The 28-year-old director, who has studied filmmaking in New York University and did her masters in film direction from American Film Institute, wants to reverse the practice of copying Hollywood movies.

"Enough of Hollywood films have been copied to make Bollywood hits. I want to take a Bollywood film and make a film in Hollywood," she said.

Rajshree also hopes to adapt a story by Oscar-winning director Satyajit Ray into a film. "Satyajit Ray is my favourite director and one day I would like to adapt a book of his and make a film on it."

The Sonam Kapoor-Abhay Deol starrer "Aisha" is her first commercial venture after "Chaurahen" (2007), an English film starring Soha Ali Khan, which travelled to a lot of film festivals, but never got released in the theatres.

"'Chaurahen' was on urban relationships. It had three different stories and in one of them Soha Ali Khan played the lead. It was in English and was tagged as an arty film and never got released in the theatres," Rajshree said.

"Aisha", produced by Anil Kapoor's daughter Rhea, is based on British novel "Emma". Rajshree tweaked it to make a film because she found the story very relevant to Indian society.

"I wanted to make a film on urban relationships. I never thought to make a comedy. When I was reading 'Emma' I found that it was so relevant to our society and I decided make a film on it," she said.

However, it wasn't a cakewalk for Rajshree.

"It was a little difficult to get a producer as people were apprehensive about the film and me too. I am actually very grateful to the Kapoors that they liked the film and kept it to my vision," she said.

"It took me four-and-a-half years before that because I went around pitching the production houses. Sonam was the first actor whom I approached with the film," she added.

The director decided to make Sonam the protagonist of her film even though she hadn't seen her work.

"We always wanted to have a young face. That time 'Saawariya' had just released. I didn't see the film but had seen a lot of photographs and decided to make Sonam the protagonist of my film," she said.

Asked if she is planning to sign Sonam's father Anil Kapoor in any of her future projects, Rajshree said: "I don't know because I don't have any script in my mind and I don't write any script keeping any actors in mind. May be later."

"Aisha" is slated for release Aug 6.

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