Double inspiration

Tushar Hiranandani and Ankit Kothari

‘Saand ki Aankh’ and ‘Paanchika’ open Indian Panorama section


Indian Panorama was inaugurated with two films, ‘Saand ki Aankh’ (feature) and ‘Paanchika’ (non-feature). Both films tell inspiring stories, and are debut films of both the directors.

‘Saand ki Aankh’, directed by Tushar Hiranandani is based on lives of sharpshooters Chandro and Prakashi Tomar from Meerut. The short film in Gujarati hits hard on caste-based prejudices that prevails in society. 

Hiranandani is no newcomer in the film world; he has spent most of his innings as a writer, having worked on films like ‘ABCD’ (2013), ‘Ek Villian’ (2014) and ‘Main Tera Hero’ (2014), among several others. “I thought I wanted to retire at the age of 50, move to a quieter place and take up to farming, but after watching a particular episode of ‘Satyamev Jayate’, I thought the story of these two women, who got their lives to take off at the age of 60, should be a tale told to all,” he said. And that’s how ‘Saand ki Aankh’ came into being.

The film that was to be titled ‘Womania’, struggled to get a title, and even though the producers weren’t too pleased with ‘Saand ki Aankh’, it was ultimately chosen as the final title. “Nobody agreed on the title. But then we ran out of time and had to give it one. I think, people couldn’t understand the film from the title, but that was fine, they would have to watch it to know what it is,” said Hiranandani. He added that the title which translated to ‘bull’s eye’ had a lot of swag in it and worked well for the film.

And now with the popularity of the film that was released at Diwali, he has made up his mind to follow his calling of making biopics. “There are so many inspiring stories out there and I want to tell those through my films,” he says, adding that the next one already in the pipeline is about a young entrepreneur.

Meanwhile, for the young Ankit Kothari, the story of the seven-year old Miri about friendship that survives all social norms, was a story he heard while working as assistant director on the sets of ‘Tumbad’. His short film ‘Paanchika’ is an adaptation from a short story, ‘Bawa’, by Vyankatesh Madgulkar.

After working on films like ‘Oye Lucky Lucky Oye’ (2007), ‘Love Sex aur Dhokha’ (2009) and ‘Shanghai’(2011), Kothari stated that that story has so much relevance today and will be relevant for a long time to come because of how our society in India functions—giving caste importance.

Explaining how directing young kids is completely different he said: “The city kids were very confident, but here I wanted inherent shyness and fear that I found in Aarti and Anjali Thakore whose parents practise farming. I had to play the bad cop and shout at them and literally break down shots as creatively to get them to emote.”

Kothari who believes that it’s important to get producers to give vision to a story is now working on his full-length feature film.