Ready for Cannes with his 'Dabba'

Young Filmmaker

Ready for Cannes with his 'Dabba'

Grit and determination, faith in yourself and passion to act as a driving force when the time and luck is not your side, is what all it takes to be a filmmaker,” says Ritesh  Batra, a young director  who is all set to  see the screening of his film Dabba at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Born and brought up in Mumbai, Ritesh quit his job to fulfil his dream of filmmaking. “I used to work as a consultant. After continuing with that job for three years I finally decided to quit because I did not like my job,” says Ritesh who joined a film school in New York to pursue his dream.

It was Ritesh’s faith on his dreams and no fear in his mind that pushed him to make three award-winning short films, The Morning Ritual, Gareeb Nawaz ki Taxi and Café Regular, Cairo before  his anticipated feature debut film Dabba.

“The news was conveyed to me via e-mail. I wish it was a letter so the suspense of opening the envelope would come with it. Honestly, I never had so many expectations but now I am excited and thrilled that my film will be screened at the Cannes film festival.  The film will now travel all across the globe and this is what I wanted,” shares Ritesh.

But Ritesh had to wait for five-long years for this day. “I started writing Dabba in 2007 when I was researching a documentary about the Mumbai dabbawallahs. Somehow I got more interested in  the people who were cooking and eating the lunchbox. I studied them for four years and once I was clear with the characters I wrote the first draft in 2011,” says the filmmaker.

Dabba, interestingly, includes in its cast two internationally acclaimed faces of Indian cinema – Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. “I had a clear idea that I wanted these two actors to be part of my film. Nawazuddin is playing the character of Shaikh in the film and he approached the role with honesty. After discussions with him I used to rewrite his character, till we got it right. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Irrfan too,” says the maker.

Today, Ritesh attributes the success of his film to the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) lab, Sikhya Entertainment, DAR Motion Pictures as well international co-producers like ASAP Films (France) and Rohfilm (Germany).

“NFDC lab has been extremely helpful in polishing up my film. In the presence of accomplished writers, you understand the depth of your work. I think that it is really prestigious for a director.”

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