Sandeep Mohan is an Indian film director who made his feature film debut with “Love-Wrinkle Free”. The film is a slice of life romantic comedy about a dysfunctional family who live in the Calangute area of Goa. Set in the Roman Catholic world of Goa, “Love, Wrinkle-free” takes a light-hearted look at the obsession of today’s society on ‘looks’ and ‘youth’ – a universally recognizable theme.
Here is what Sandeep wanted to say about the anti-ageing comedy:
Your new movie Love, wrinkle-free has created a buzz internationally; tell us a little about this film.
Love, Wrinkle-free is my first feature film as a Writer-Director. When I look around in Indian cities, I see that people are getting more and more obsessed with looks, youth and smooth skin. Botox is worshiped by many and skin clinics are like the new temples! I wanted to explore this idea and see how a middle class Indian family would cope with the pressures of having to look good/young. That is how the script of Love, Wrinkle-free was born. The film has been to various International film festivals, and the reactions have surprised me too. People from the US, Koreans, Mexicans, etc have been able to connect with this theme and this gives me the confidence that even the Indian audience will enjoy this universal story.
Isn’t it a risk to go for such an unconventional concept considering it’s your debut?
Risk is fun. It is a short life. One should do what one believes in. I believe in Love, Wrinkle-free and went ahead to create it. Making a typical film for a debut is also as risky, you know. So let’s see how it goes. At least now, I have the satisfaction of having made a good first feature film, without resorting to any of the clichés and formulas. Love, Wrinkle-free is an Indian indie film that is going to making you think and smile.
You have also worked as an Assistant Director with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, what has that experience been like?
Working with Mr. Bhansali was a wonderful experience. Though the sets were massive, I got to see him at work, and I learned a lot about Discipline and hardwork, and how they contribute towards a good film. I was there only for some part of one movie, so I moved on in life before being able to pick up any particular style of filmmaking from him. What you see in Love, Wrinkle-free is purely from my heart, and I don’t think I am that influenced by his style of filmmaking though I respect him as a human being.
After working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali on a commercially acclaimed, ‘everything-
bollywood’ film like ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, you came up with something as creative as ‘Love Wrinkle Free, An Anti ageing Comedy’. What was your inspiration?
When you work as an Assistant Director, your objective is to gain industry experience and see how everything works. That was the purpose of working on a Bollywood production. And the experience was very useful in the years to come for me.
The inspiration is life itself. This was a theme that I wanted to explore since I saw the effects of it all around me in cities. And as a storyteller, I was excited at the prospects of exploring this theme.
The starcast of your film is atypical. Why didn’t you go with the glitzy glamorous stars that most of the debutant directors do?
When you are working on a low budget, you work with actors you can afford. Also, the actors who have worked in Love, Wrinkle-free were cast by me and are few of the best actors in Indian cinema and theatre today. Looking back, I wouldn’t have cast anybody else for these roles. The strength of Love, Wrinkle-free is its casting and the brilliant performances by the superb ensemble cast. I want to thank each one of them for being there, be it Ash Chandler, Shernaz Patel, Seema Rahmani, Ashwin Mushran, Sohrab Ardeshir, Arika, Dasang or Marianne, everyone.
Your film has received standing ovation at March du film- Cannes Film Festival and it has also been shortlisted in Best International Film Category at the 22nd CINEQUEST INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA. Do you think it’ll do equally well in India? Considering the fact that the general Indian audience wants masala films like Ready, Housefull, Wanted etc. Do you think your film will be a commercial success?
See, the standing ovation in Cannes Market, you know, I don’t know where that came from, but the fact is in all the other festivals that we have been to, we have been really well-appreciated. (In Cannes, we had gone to the Market). I am extremely confident that the sensible, fun-loving audiences will love Love, Wrinkle-free even in India. After all, Love, Wrinkle-free is an Indian indie film set in our own Goa. And Goa, for a change, has not been shown in a negative light. I can say that this is one of the best Goa based movies to come out of India in the last 10 years. Everyone wants choice nowadays and I am sure for those guys who are fed up on a diet of Housefull, Ready etc can drop in to get a taste of some authentic Goan taste in Love-Wrinkle-free
You seem to be a very unconventional film-maker. Our readers would like to know about your all time favourite film?
David Ogilvy said that Rules are for fools. Learn the rules and throw it out of the window! I don’t know whether I am conventional or unconventional, but this is the way I am
Few of my favourite directors are Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Alexander Payne, Jim Jarmusch etc and I have a lot of favourite films. Most of the films of these directors are my favourite, and if I start listing it down, it might take up this whole page
Are there any other projects that you are planning to work on?
I have a few scripts with me, but will start working on the next film by the year end. It is a story that I am very excited about and is set in the hills. I love hills and this way I have an excuse to spend some time in the hills
Your movie releases in India by May ’12, we hope it does well.
Love, Wrinkle-free releases through PVR Director’s Rare on the 25th of May. I would request you guys to check the movie out on the first 3 days itself since indie films need that momentum. I can guarantee you that you will come out relaxed and smiling after the screening. All the best and follow your heart.