#BehindTheLens: Vasundhara Jadhav talks to us about the making of her documentary, A Pearl in the Ocean, how she went about the filming process with her protagonist and more!

Aishwarya Srinivasan
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Vasundhara Jadhav

A Pearl in the Ocean by Vasundhara Jadhav premiered at The Kashish Film Festival this year under the Trans India category and it felt like a story that needed to be shown to the world! 

To make a documentary that not only touches the audience’s heart but also helps bring someone else’s journey to the rest of the world is a beautiful thing to do and Vasundhara Jadhav, the director of A Pearl in the Ocean does just that! She went from breaking the ice with the main subject of her film, Tushar, by finding commonality between them to then deciding what she truly wants the audience to see in the film, it was quite an insightful journey for her. She talks to us about what’s next for her in terms of her career, her favourite LGBTQIA+ film and her inspiration behind making this documentary!

Also Read: #BehindTheLens: Sunil Babu Pant, an LGBTQ activist turned filmmaker candidly talks to us about the process of making Blue Flower and more!

Here’s how the conversation went!

What was your inspiration behind making this film? 

Okay, so what Tushar and I have in common is that we love dancing and probably his love for belly dancing is what pushed me to make a film on him.

So what was your creative process like? And how did you break the ice with him?

So initially, when I briefed him about the idea that I wanted to make a film on him, he was very excited. He said that he was feeling like a star already before I started shooting also. So he was very comfortable with the camera. And the second thing was I told him to be himself, like since it is a documentary, it is not staged. So whatever is happening in his natural environment is what we are shooting. So the fact that he was comfortable being himself and the people around him were comfortable made the process very easy for us.

So what would you want your audience to learn or take away from your documentary?

Tushar will inspire you. He's just a 19 year old boy and he's coming from the interiors of West Bengal where homosexuality is not accepted. But he's somebody who's owning his truth, facing reality and people. Even though they call him names! He will inspire you to own your identity, embrace yourself. That's what I want people to take away from this one!

Documentary filmmaking is so different from fictional filmmaking and that makes it harder for you to connect with the audience as well. How did you make sure that happens? And how long did it take you to shoot this documentary? 

Okay, so honestly, I spent about a month with Tushar. And during this month, I didn't make it a point to you know, like, consciously point the camera at him or something. First I became friends with him because whoever you're planning to make a film with, you have to be comfortable that the equation that you share with him as a director or a storyteller, so he feels like he's just talking to a friend. So that is how we went about it. And the shooting process, it took roughly four days for us to shoot this. And when we went into the editing phase, we wondered what is it that we want to tell the audience? Is it just about Tushar? Is it just his belly dancing or more?

What's next for you? 

Right now I'm working on my fiction project, which is also part of my student film project only, which is my diploma. It's going to be a 30 minute diploma and will be autobiographical in nature, because it is coming from my days at a boarding school and at an all girls boarding school.

Do you have a favourite movie with really good LGBTQIA+ representation?

I think recently, I watched Maja Ma which is also a part of Kashish Film Festival this year. And I really believe that Madhuri Dixit was bold to portray it on the big screen because it is something like a taboo. Like when I saw the film, I realised that she's a mother and she's supposed to play those roles and  conform to the heterosexual society and all of that, but her playing something as big as this is something that is going to change the thought process for the Indian panorama. So I think that is really wonderful.

Vasundhara Jadhav's A Pearl in the Ocean premiered at The Kashish Film Festival this year! 

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