For My Mother

Gauri Shinde says making English Vinglish is her way of saying "sorry" and "thank you" to her mother.

This is so overwhelming," said filmmaker Gauri Shinde as she entered Ravindra Natya Mandir in Mumbai on November 20 for Loksatta's Viva Lounge, moderated by actor-columnist Sonali Kulkarni. Shinde was welcomed by as many as 200 people who had gathered in the auditorium to congratulate her on the success of English Vinglish, her directorial debut.

Kulkarni started the conversation by asking Shinde about her successful transition from being an ad filmmaker to a feature film director. Shinde attributed this to her supportive parents and her love for films. The filmmaker was born and brought up in a Maharashtrian family in Pune, where academics were always given priority. "I took up commerce in college and hence, had a lot of free time. I started copywriting for an advertisement firm. This laid the foundation for a creative career ahead," says Shinde. She then came to Mumbai where she worked in the production unit of TV show Surabhi.

Later, she wanted to direct ad films, but her lack of experience proved to be a hurdle. "It was then that I decided to go to New York and do a short film course. I also made a short film there, which was then selected for the Berlin Film Festival. This was my ticket to direction," said Shinde.

After this, she joined Lintas and made around 80 ad films. Once she thought of making her first feature film, encouragement came from her husband R Balki, who has directed Cheeni Kum and Pa. When asked if she felt pressurised to do better than her husband, Shinde said, "I am not ambitious by nature and not competing with anyone. The pressure was only to get a good idea."

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