Mansi Jain is one talented being; her Chhuri is definitely proof of that. Besides Chhuri, her repertoire includes writing No Filter Neha for Neha Dhupia; she is also the writer and creative director of BFF With Vogue (season 2) on Colors Infinity. In an exclusive chat with TheDigitalHash.com, the soft-spoken Mansi reveals how Chhuri happened to her and her future projects.
What kind of responses has Chhuri generated?
Chhuri is an off-kilter dark comedy. People have been calling Tisca Chopra’s Meera a boss; people have also written stating that they wish they had the same spark as Meera. Usually, my work has elements of dark comedy. And Chhuri has that characteristic; many Indian-American academics saw it and said that though feminism is associated to be typically very loud and aggressive; resistance is a form of feminism too. It was interesting to see these varied points of view.
The end of the short is very imaginative, are there any real life references?
I have studied filmmaking in Columbia. And in the first term we had to make a five-minute film. So I made Custody that in New York in 2012, which I made into Chhuri now.
The idea for Custody came from a phone call with a friend, who is older than me. She was sure that her husband of many years was having an affair. She said, ‘achcha hai agar woh (the other woman) usko (the husband) rakh le. Ghar mein kalesh kam hoga. (Good that she keeps my husband, there will b peace at my place). I don’t know if she actually did something about the affair. I think she was just venting out(giggles).
Besides acting, Tisca has co-written the screenplay with you. Give us an insight into how that process happened?
After Chutney, Tisca was expected to do another short film. Instead of doing any random short film, I suggested her to take it forward thematically, by doing a trilogy. Then she saw Custody and loved it, and asked me if I wanted to make it in India. She had a lot of inputs and hence we collaborated to write the screenplay. We made it into a 12 minute film.
How did you assure that Chhuri had its own identity, different from Chutney?
I didn’t come with any baggage for Chutney, since I had nothing to do with the short film. I saw it only when I started working with Tisca. I am a very zen person, and focus on what my job is, this kind of noise doesn’t affect me.
How did you decide on rechristening Custody into Chhuri?
Chhuri was one of the earliest names I had suggested for the film, apart from seven others that I had given Tisca. In my head, Meera is a tez meethi chhuri . But we were finally convinced that Chhuri is a great name.
After Chhuri’s success, are you planning to make any more digital content?
Since I was in film school, I was required to write a lot of short films. I now have two short films with me – one is a psychological thriller with a lot of blood and gore; a cute family film about a dog. I am also in planning to make a web series, which is still in its initial stage.
Do you watch web content?
I do watch a lot of Netflix; I belong to the binge-watching generation and can finish many season in two sittings. I am quite fascinated by Alias Grace. I also enjoyed Manhunt; Orange is The New Black, Master of None, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I look forward to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt every year; it has the best one-liners in the business. I like watching Game of Thrones too, though I have some problem with its writing sometimes, especially the way the women are portrayed. Despite that, it is a fantastic, path breaking, and earth shuttering series for sure. I also watch a lot of one hour specials.