The Roshni Dinaker interview: ‘My Story’ is not a regular Malayalam film

After a brief halt, the shoot of My Story starring Prithviraj Sukumaran, resumes on October18. Fashion designer turned filmmaker Roshini Dinaker talks to Deepa Antony about her dream debut.

Roshni Dinaker has been a busy costume designer in the Kannada, Tamil and Telugu film industries for 15 years. For the last 2 years she has kept herself busy with her dream debut directing Prithviraj and Parvathy for My Story in Malayalam. Over a steaming cup of tea in the 10th floor of her minimalist apartment with a compelling view of the entire city in Kochi, Roshni Dinaker talks about My Story, her dream debut, her passion for cinema and what keeps her going.

  • You come from a fashion background. What brings you to cinema?
  • You are right! I’m a fashion graduate. After that I fetched a lucrative job in fashion at Bangalore. But I soon figured it was getting monotonous and I wasn’t cut-out for it. So, I quit! And then around mid-2002 cinema found me. It was like fate pulled me into movies.
  • How did that happen?
  • Well, I was home, jobless, when a film crew who were shooting at a friend’s resort had some costume fiasco. So, they called me in to help. I helped out and went back home. But then I kept getting offers to work on movies in their costumes and there was no looking back. I’ve worked in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu films. Fashion is still something I pursue when I feel like de-stressing. (points at sketches on a whiteboard)
  • How did your love for cinema start?
  • My father was my greatest inspiration in that. He was an absolute movie-buff. As a kid we used to live in Coorg and he would drive from Madikeri to Kannur for the weekend just to watch Malayalam movies. It used to be a treat! We would rent a place in Kannur , watch 2-3 movies, eat a lot of Malabar food and return. So, you know, I have no formal experience in film-making, but my experience is in watching good cinema.
  • So, how did you come about film-making?
  • Abhijatha Umesh, a director friend from New York, suggested making a film. She is model co-ordinator Taara Umesh’s daughter. We were working on a television production at the moment that was supposed to go on floor in 4 languages. She had a story in mind and we would talk about it. But, unfortunately, we lost her 3 years back in May and I lost interest in the project. But somehow the story kept coming back to me. One night after putting my kids to sleep I stayed up to write it down. You won’t believe it, but by 4am I had the crux of the story. I never knew I could write, and here I was conceiving scenes! I decided to produce the movie and give it to another director friend. But then they wanted me to direct it myself.
  • So, that’s how My Story happened?
  • (laughs) No..no..no! This is another film I want to do. But that will have to wait. This is a love story that transcends beyond bodies. It is about spirit science and philosophy. I wanted to make this film and eventually met Prithviraj. Our discussions lead into this new love story. We got Shankar Ramakrishnan to write it. Now, that is My Story.

  • Tell us about My Story.
  • It’s a beautiful love story of Jay (Prithviraj) and Thara (Parvathy). You know in life’s journey we sometimes meet someone who touches our life deeply. Whether or not that person stays in your life , whether or not that person is a physical presence in your life, you are always reminded of them even if you want to forget them. It’s like meeting an old friend after 10-20 years and starting off where you left it. The time, age or nothing matters because you’ve been changed after being touched deeply. This story is about that feeling.
    You will see in the song that releases next month that My Story is nothing like a regular Malayalam film. We have 6 songs. It’s very Bollywood-y. It’s like a “hallmark” movie – candy to the eye and youthful! It will also make you want to fall in love. It’s almost entirely shot in picturesque Portugal and Spain.
  • Why did you choose Portugal and Spain to shoot?
  • Well, because Portugal is heavily unexplored and beautiful! (laughs) You know, My Story is not only the first Malayalam film, but also the first Indian film to be shot in Portugal. It was also easy to shoot there because the people weren’t familiar with our actors. Infact you’ll see in one of the songs that we even managed to shoot at the busy Rossio Square near Lisbon. And it has come out so beautifully that the authorities want us to release in Portugal, Germany and even Brazil to increase the footfalls in their tourist areas. My cinematographer Dudley is to be thanked for that. Dudley did the camera for Dilwale, Chennai Express, Singham, etc. His shots have worked beautifully in My Story. I’m so happy with my technicians.
  • So, when can we expect the release of My Story?
  • One of the songs is being released on the 9th of November. It’s a fun song. All the songs have come out well, thanks to Shaan (Rahman), my music director. We’ve had some date issues with Prithvi but thankfully that’s been sorted and we are resuming shoot by 18th of this month. So, hopefully I can release My Story in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Is it hard being a woman in cinema making films?
  • You know what, today nobody is worried about gender. What matters is smartness, creativity, focus and dedication. The wall that needs to be broken is in the minds and has nothing to do with gender. Feminine energy is just as important as masculine energy. Also, every problem, whether you are a man or a woman, will teach you a new lesson.
  • So, what are your future plans in cinema?
  • For now I’m absolutely focused on completing My Story and releasing it. But, I’m also dying to do an action film. Maybe my second movie could be an action movie about how man’s irresponsibility impacts everyone. I have two complete scripts with me that are ready to go. So, either one of them could be my next movie. I know I’m going to stay and make movies for atl east 10 more years. But right now my focus is on My Story and to get it released. I’m very confident about the way this movie has turned out. I want my viewers to emote with the film. I want them to feel the love because it’s a nice and cute emotion to have and cherish, especially with all the hate around.

Roshni Dinaker, the director and producer of My Story, has toiled for 2 years on her debut as a film-maker. Long hours, adverse climates and date tiff controversies aside, Roshni is happy with the way the movie has turned out and is excited to bring yet another love story to us Malayalam movie-buffs. 

CONVERSATION byDeepa Antony

11 Oct 2017 | 07:27 PM