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Arunima Maharshi

IWB Blogger

Team ‘Tikli And Laxmi Bomb’ Visits #IWBungalow While In Jaipur For JIFF 2018

  • IWB Post
  •  January 11, 2018

Remember our conversations with the cast and crew of Tikli and Laxmi Bomb from some time ago? Author-director Aditya Kripalani had shared with us his thoughts behind penning down an anti-patriarchal book, and the reason why he decided to take the characters, Tikli and Laxmi Bomb, to a film reel!

Aditya is known for his women-oriented stories, and his books, Back Seat, Front Seat, and Tikli and Laxmi Bomb, are not just intriguing titles, but stories that expose the worst form of patriarchy forced upon women from backgrounds that have long been tagged “lesser-privileged” by the society.

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb

“All my books are born out of my observations, and I have always felt strongly for the conditions sex-worker women have to deal with. But what intrigued me to look at their lives from a different perspective was their attitude towards life. They’ve seen and suffered so much and are yet so full of spirit, and that I believe is the reason that made me curious to dig deeper and wider. As also, the world they belong to is not isolated, people who call them so are many times found (or not) to be moving in and out of the very world themselves.”

Driven by my curiosity I remember asking Vibhawari if there was any scene that left her overwhelmed beyond anticipation. She plays the role of Laxmi and is also the protagonist of the film. “So there is a scene in the film where Tikli and I (Laxmi) are present in a room with a potential MLA, and he tries to exploit me. Purely as a performer, but in the way he approached me, his touch, it sent a shiver down my spine. I lived a lifetime of a sex worker in that one moment. The feeling was just so intense; I don’t think I will be able to ever forget it.”

And then Chitrangada, on-screen Tikli, shared her views on seeking legalization for prostitution, “It is something I feel very strongly about, and long before the film happened. I remember being a part of discussions on the same in my grad school, and I was always in favour of the motion – “Prostitution should be legalized”. These women don’t seek sympathy, but they must be vested with the basic human rights. Though given our society, even then there would be a long way ahead, but it is only when we take one step forward that we will learn to deal with what lies next.”

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb

Having interacted with them at different points of time, and reading the book (Aditya was kind enough to send me an e-copy), I began to feel a part of ‘Tikli and Laxmi Bomb’ in my blogger-reader zone. So off late when we saw updates on social media about the film being screened at National-International Film Festivals, and we got to know that they would be in the city for the screening of the film at the Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF) 2018, Team IWB decided to invite them over at #IWBungalow.

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb

Expecting a typical media interaction of sorts, they entered our office, but a quick go-around, and the ambience and vibes coloured their perceptions. Oh and, in the middle of it, Aditya who I remember had talked about his passion for music at the time of the interview, happened to step into our singer-blogger Komal’s studio room, and soon the guitar was in his hands. And right then my eyes met Sweta, Aditya’s wife and also the producer of the film, who stood at the door, smiling quietly at the sight.

The tour wrapped with tea and coffee, and our catching up had just begun when Komal surprised us with a quick sing-and-answer session to explore the intricacies of their visit to the pink city. Her entry lit everyone’s faces and in no time the room filled with the guitar strings playing the ever so famous Old Macdonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O rhyme. The lyrics of which she twisted to get into the many little fun facts of their Jaipur-experience. Like Sweta ate too much ghewar, and Aditya ‘broke a leg’, and Chitrangada spotted many interesting things in the city, E-I-E-I-O.

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb

Everyone broke into laughter, and soon the eyes were on Aditya requesting him to play a song for us. The song that he picked on was one of his own compositions from the film, and to say the least, the voice and lyrics were heart touching.

And as though our office manager, Mr. Wasim, knew when Aditya would play the last note, just in time he entered the room with green-red kites in hands! It’s the season of kites after all, and we thought why not to use them as props to dig a little deeper into their off-reel “real” lives.

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb

So on the ‘green for yes’ and ‘red for no’ kite-note, began our rapid fire round. To our surprise, they had all flown a kite before (Makar Sankranti is not that widely celebrated in Maharashtra where most of them hail from), but none of them pulled a red kite when asked if they had ever “lied” for a good cause (ahem). Though up came the green kites on the question of animal lovers in the room, and remained there in response to ‘if they were all doing their dream jobs currently’. Now, isn’t that great!

Stepping a little out of the fun zone, we sought their stand on the current social issues, give an ear to what Aditya shared with us, “One of course, women safety is something I feel very strongly about, and gender issues in general. But the other thing that I have been thinking about a lot off late is that how can we save the movement of feminism from taking the ‘we hate men’ direction. Something that being a feminist even I’ve been a part of, but what happens when you start hating parts of yourself; it’s not a great thing, and it’s not healthy. We ought to think about the cases in which humanity goes beyond gender, and work to get both the genders come back towards each other, instead of getting more polarized.”

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb

Finding it artistically amusing in his head, Aditya has made it his focal point, and in attempt to explore the said dimension of the situation, he is starting the shoot of his next film, Tota Pataka Item Maal, from the coming month. (We wish you all the luck, Aditya!)

And too soon it seemed, but came close the time to bid adieu, which Team IWB decided to do on a colourful note. Our head honcho and a pro kite-flyer, Mr Sudhir Sharma, flew a kite for them, and one by one everyone tried their hands at it. The childlike excitement on their faces only added to the brightness of the environment, and fast released the hand-written messages into the sky.

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb

Tikli and Laxmi BombTikli and Laxmi Bomb

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb

Then came the surprise! Throughout the kite flying madness, IWB’s in-house illustrator CP, was standing afar, with a pencil and few sheets on his board. And inattentive to that corner of the garden, their happily taken aback faces were to be seen, when lady boss Ana, gifted them their caricatures!

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb

So now I am to sign off, but just got the news that Chitrangada won the best actress award for ‘Tikli’ at JIFF (yay!) Tune in soon for the film review!

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