Ad filmmaker Sudip Bandyopadhyay, who is making his directorial debut with Hope Aur Hum, says that he likes simple stories where the conflict is not drastic. “The story of Hope Aur Hum is inspired by one of my childhood experiences. Such incidents were common then. Stories like these have simple problems and solutions, like Children of Heaven, Taare Zameen Pe. There are no villains; it’s the circumstances that create tension. And these are the stories that have passively inspired me,” says Sudip.
The plot of Hope Aur Hum revolves around the Srivastava family whose lives are affected by the actions of the senior-most member of the family, Nagesh. He is obsessed with his traditional copying machine, called Mr Soennecken. The film stars Naseeruddin Shah, Sonali Kulkarni, Kabir Sajid, Naveen Kasturia and Aamir Bashir. Produced by Thumbnail Pictures and presented by PVR Pictures, it will release on May 11.
The film has several elements to it including the relationship between the grandfather and the grandson among others. Was it a challenge as a first-time filmmaker to interlink these elements with the core story? “Honestly speaking, I have been making ad films for the last 10 years and while making ad films, you tell a story in 30 seconds. I have learnt the art of communication from the advertising industry. If communication is clear, you can tell a story beautifully. If there is no challenge, there is no fun. I enjoyed narrating the story and bringing all my characters together,” he says.
Sudip can’t stop raving about the actors in the film and says it was exciting directing each one of them. “I was very sure that if there was anyone who could do Nagesh’s role, it had to be Naseeruddin Shah despite not knowing him personally. My wife Samira got his number, I got in touch with him and everything fell into place. Every actor immediately agreed to do this,” he says.
Working with Naseeruddin was not only fantastic but enriching for him too. “Meeting him was such a great experience because of his aura. When I was talking to him it felt like I was part of the movie as a co-star. He encouraged me since it’s not a regular commercial film. He would come to the sets all prepared. All of us focused on our respective work,” he says.
Is he nervous about how the film will fare at the box-office? “Every creative thing should have a commercial aspect. Having said that, particularly for Hope Aur Hum, we did not give too much importance to the commercial aspect because my bread and butter is advertising. We have made Hope Aur Hum out of pure passion and we wanted to experience making a feature film,” he says, adding, “We are promoting the film as much as we can and now it’s up to the audience. If they like it, we will be happy.” Sudip’s wife Samira has produced the film.