In the world of storytelling, stories often change form and change medium to create remarkable experiences. My Mother’s Girlfriend Story – a short film written and directed by Arun Fulara that explores a day in the life of two mature women in love – was originally written as the backdrop for a feature film script on a mother-son relationship.
“The backstory had to be removed for some reason, but it stuck with me. Last year my first short, Sunday (2020), was selected at Inside Out Toronto, one of the world’s leading LGBTQ + film festivals, and they hosted a pitch session for the short film scripts. . I couldn’t get this story and the characters out of my head, so I wrote my mom’s girlfriend, ”Fulara recalls.
Fulara wrote the screenplay, which tells the story of two working-class women – Renuka (Sushma Deshpande) and Sadiya (Anju Alva Naik) – who are in love with each other, during the lockdown in April 2020. After enjoying a day on Renuka’s Birthday, they plan to spend the night together. They walk towards Renuka’s house without knowing that her son is there.
“Since I had the mother and son characters and their relationship already engraved on my mind, the writing process went smoothly. The first draft was completed in a few days. This is usually the hardest part. Frankly there was nothing else to do during the lockdown and I had a deadline – the Pitch Please! deadline to Inside Out Toronto – to motivate me, ”says Fulara. By the time my mother’s girlfriend was shot, almost six months later, the storyline had undergone many changes. He has finished shooting the film and is currently trying to raise funds for its post-production through a crowdfunding campaign.
At the time of writing, Fulara had made a major casting decision: to have Deshpande, one of the most important figures in Marathi theater, as one of the protagonists. “We had worked together on Ajji by Devashish Makhija (2017) and I knew what an amazing performer she was. I was quietly convinced that with a good script, she would agree to make the film. Frankly, I had no backup plan, I don’t know of any other actor in this age range who would be willing to kiss on camera. Lucky for us, Sushma accepted without batting an eyelid, ”says Fulara, who helped Makhija for Ajji.
Deshpande plays the titular protagonist in Ajji, who plots revenge against a powerful man for sexually assaulting his granddaughter. Fulara reached out to Bangalore-based Naik, following the recommendations of a few friends. She recently appeared in the Kannada thriller titled Arishadvarga, directed by Arvind Kamath.
“Anju is a great actor, very subtle and suitable for the camera. She also had a bit of a shy awkwardness about her which, in my opinion, worked very well for the character of Sadiya, ”says Fulara. Sunday, which was recently released on MovieSaintas.com, and My Mother’s Girlfriend are about desire and ordinary people.
The 10-minute short film Sunday revolves around a middle-aged Maharashtrian man, whose Sunday visits to the neighborhood salon are tender ploys to spend time sneaking up on his crush, the young hairdresser, and being touched by him. “Sunday was very personal, it stemmed from my loneliness in the city and this lack of privacy and contact. My Mother’s Girlfriend is more of a celebration of the love between two characters who are also lonely. This desire to be with someone you love or are drawn to is probably the most universal of all human or even animal desires, ”says Fulara.
Fulara wants to share stories about people, who otherwise are rarely seen onscreen. “There is so much discrimination around us, in the name of caste, class, religion, gender, sexuality, age, etc. I find it more meaningful to focus on the threads that unite us, the feelings and emotions that we can all identify with and empathize with, ”says the writer-director, whose Upcoming projects include a feature film titled My Home is in the Hills.
The script for My Home is in the Hills, which Fulara plans to direct soon, was shortlisted for the NFDC Film Bazaar co-production market this year.
My mom’s girlfriend should be ready by mid-May. The edit is locked and from now on, the team is working on its sound. “Money raised through crowdfunding will be used to pay for post-production which includes editing, sound production, color grading, DCP, visual effects and film festival submissions. I have yet to pay my director of photography, Rangoli Agarwal, who was kind enough to wait for his fees, ”says Fulara.
Besides fundraising, Fulara hopes to reach people and connect them with the film through the crowdfunding campaign. “We can hope to take the film further and wider,” he adds.
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