In a world where we are still struggling to make films about the queer community that go beyond comic relief, tragic endings, and over-hopeful larger than life situations, satire finds its spot in our heart. Naughty Amelia Jane has been winning accolades after accolades in both international and national film circles for being spot on with more than just portrayal of the queer community. Gaysi sat down with the director of the film Risheeta Agarwal to discuss motivation, love and of course, humour brought to us by this heart-strumming film.
Q. What made you write the story of Amelia and Jane?
Naughty Amelia Jane was my first film. It was the first real story I ever wrote. When I set off to write, there wasn’t a thought in my head. I had no idea how my story was going to flow or end. I just knew how I was going to start it. A few days of undirected writing amounted to what you see in the final film. Write about what you know – a lot of writers will tell you this. Each story they write is always influenced by a certain degree of personal experience and your environment around you. The same goes for me.
The story of this film, and the process of making it, was an intensely personal experience – one tainted with cowardice, which I have previously masqueraded as a strictly creative choice. The intended audience of this film initially was limited to my family. Its purpose was to finally come out to them about my sexuality. I was touching 25 and I felt it was the right time to share my truth with the ones I love most – this was my “coming out of the closet” story. The acceptance and love of not just my family, but audiences across countries has been incredibly heartwarming. My family pushed me to send it out to festivals, India and abroad. The awards and festival selections that followed, with this movie ultimately being picked up by Amazon Prime was the unexpected icing on the cake.
Q. The visuals in the film seem like they are out of a Wes Anderson film. Why?
I love his style of storytelling. So visually appealing, the symmetry’s and the colour palettes are truly masterful and so addictive to watch. I have grown up watching and loving his films so they tend to at times heavily influence my way of writing and imagining. This was me taking his style and trying to put my personal spin on it. If it landed right, that is for people who watch the film to decide.
Q. Satire is not an easily understood genre, it is often considered niche film making for a niche audience. Why use satire for this particular story?
I mentioned cowardice earlier. I knew I was touching an extremely sensitive issue at home, I wanted to provide some level of comic relief along with this. In the hope that I’m able to lighten the mood a little if need be. I’ve known to be the sort of person who might crack an inappropriate joke at a funeral to get out of an uncomfortable situation. The LGBTQ topic isn’t one that is still discussed with the most open mind within certain families. I am not unaware of this situation in any way. Specially two women in love. For some reason, it’s still hard for a few people to take this sort of a relationship seriously. This movie was originally intended for mine. I never wanted to put anyone in an uncomfortable situation but also get my point through. My grandparents, parents and younger siblings have all sat in one room and watched the love story of two young girls.