At a time when most web series are focused in lesbian lovemaking scenes, director Raj Rishi More follows his heart and makes a short film called Rozana, which emphasizes more on the emotions underlying the relationship.
Rozana, featuring stage actor Divya Sharma, and Gangs of Wasseypur fame, Annurita K Jha, will screen this Saturday, at the Kashish LGBT Q festival. “We have been shortlisted for 9 other international festivals as well. I don’t want my film to have a shock value per se. Instead, I wanted to make the story more personal and intimate to the characters, as this resonates more with audiences”, says Raj, who has assisted Ritesh Batra in Lunch Box.
The film talks more from the perspective of Divya’s character.
Talking about casting, More says, “Agreed, Annurita is more known. But she fit the other character to a T. I have also seen Divya’s theatre work, and she is good.”
“One other major departure is that it has no sound. We have shot the film in such a way that emotions of loneliness speak for themselves, and to be honest, we are just telling a love story. That the couple is lesbian is beside the point. The same story could have worked, had the couple been straight as well.”
Divya says, “Annurita and I hit it off well during the workshops and shoot. At first, both being straight women, we were hesitant. But the story told by Raj was so beautiful that we went with the flow. I will not reveal the end; do watch it if you get a chance to go Kashish, this weekend.”
“It is very important for us to accept LGBT people. We hope our film helps people to come out of the closet, for it is no mean task given the social ostracism. We believe in equality, irrespective of any sexual orientation,” she adds.
In closing, Raj, who is also the second unit director with the upcoming Nawazuddin Siddiqui film, Photograph, admits, “Even now, shorts are not really a big money-making business. It is really a platform to showcase your creativity, without getting bogged down by the baggage and limitations of a feature film. Having said that, with a rising number of web platforms and apps, we will soon be in a position to start monetizing shorts. Earlier, shorts would not garner more than 10-20k views; today, if your product is good, you can get up to a few million views.”
Best of luck for Rozana!!