People and situations are humanized and relatable in her directorial debut, Doctor G, she says Anubhuti Kashyapwho has a bit of a hard time pinpointing exactly how she defines the term “female gaze”.
Doctor G is a campus comedy whose protagonist Uday Gupta, a trainee doctor played by Ayushmann Khurrana, is a fish out of water when he ends up as the only male gynecologist in an all-female group.
“This is a director’s film,” said many of her industry friends when they first saw the film. And when they said that, I went back and found that this was done a little differently. Things were humanized and they were just relatable…
“I don’t know if it’s just the female gaze or my natural way of approaching things that went into the film… I kind of can’t separate that,” Anubhuti, who previously directed black comedy series Afsos. , said PTI in an interview.
A modern educated youth who hails from a small town in Uttar Pradesh called Obra but grew up in different towns and studied at boarding schools, the director said her first feature film is “set in the world of people I know”.
“I saw a mix of environments. Luckily I got to know Bombay and Pune and studied at different schools. I was in London for a year. I tried to tell the story from the perspective of today’s modern world, full of characters like you and me.
“I kept it as realistic as possible. So nobody’s like a total asshole in the movie or a wonderful, organized person who knows everything. Everyone is mixed in a film and that was my approach. I think the subtlety of the film is probably my look,” she added.
In the film’s trailer, lead gynecologist Dr. Nandini Srivastav (Shefali Shah) Uday to lose his “manly touch” to make himself and his patients feel comfortable.
Anubhuti, who boarded the Junglee Pictures project around 2017, said she loved the Saurabh Bharat-written story’s “unique” premise but wanted to tweak the script.
“I liked the script, but there was so much more about it that I didn’t like and I wanted to change it. The banner met my expectations. I worked with the original author, we did a lot of brainstorming.
“We came to a different version of the story. We added more characters, made the story more personal and brought in the ‘male touch’ aspect,” she said.
Doctor G was written by Sumit Saxena, Vishal Wagh, Saurabh Bharat and Anubhuti.
With a resume heavily filled with social drama on taboo subjects, Ayushmann was the first choice for the title role for both the director and the production house, which had worked with the actor on Bareilly Ki Barfi and Badhaai Ho.
“Junglee Pictures had already made two films with Ayushmann and this film appeared to be an Ayushmann film. Apparently he had expressed interest in doing another film with them if it was a high concept story. So they suggested it to him since he was the best fit for the film. We as a package are the best fit for Ayushmann,” she said.
Anubhuti began her career as an assistant to director Raj Kumar Gupta in the 2008 film Aamir and later assisted her brother, acclaimed director Anurag Kashyap on his films such as Gangs of Wasseypur and DevD. Her other brother Abhinav Kashyap is best known for Salman Khan star Dabangg.
She is the third director in the “film lover’s family,” and all of the siblings borrow many qualities from their father, who is a storyteller himself, the filmmaker said.
“Our dad is a weird and funny man in real life. He loves to tell stories, he is an engineer. Somewhere we picked all the elements of humor, storytelling and a certain interesting and impetuous approach to life from him.
“Anurag was the only one who knew he wanted to do this, and he did. The rest of us slowly followed. Abhinav, the other brother, followed much earlier. I didn’t even think about acting in the films in any way.” Education has always been more important than cinema in her family, the filmmaker said. So she went the standard route, got an MBA and worked in the corporate world for about eight years.
But eventually she took a short sabbatical to reconsider her career. It was her older brother Anurag who she said encouraged her to make films.
“Anurag has always had more confidence in my creative abilities than in me because I did drama and plays in college. I never took it seriously. But the moment I took a break from the corporate world, he was the one who gently got me thinking that I should try movies. That’s how I started looking at movies as a career option after having a very different career,” she said.
While her entry into films was late, Anubhuti said once she started exploring the field she felt she would do well.
“Once I spent some time on the sets and started doing my short films, I thought it was ok. It’s easy, I can do it. I like to watch movies and tell stories. That’s when I started thinking seriously about it. But I’m still searching.” Doctor G also stars Rakul Preet Singh and Sheeba Chaddha in key roles.