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PIFF 2019: Wanted to capture Pune in my film before it changes totally, says Sriram Raghavan

Filmmaker Sriram Raghavan speaks about the reason for setting his acclaimed thriller Andhadhun (2018) in the city he grew up in, on the sidelines of 17th Pune International Film Festival.

Suparna Thombare

Director Sriram Raghavan and actress Tabu attended the 17th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF), along with Pooja Ladha Surti, one of the writers who worked on the script of the thriller Andhadhun (2018), and sound designer Madhu Apsara.

The team discussed the film with the festival audience and also attended the screening of the film on Saturday 12 January.

Sriram Raghavan

Later, speaking to Cinestaan.com, Sriram revealed why setting Andhadhun in Pune was very important to him. 

"I am from Pune," the filmmaker said. "I did my school, college and then FTII [the Film and Television Institute of India] here. I used to stay in Somwar Peth. I watched all the great movies here. We used to have all matinee shows. All the films right from the 1940s used to be screened in morning shows. And this was long before I joined the [film] institute. So Pune I have a lot of love for."

Andhadhun revolves around a pianist Akash, played by Ayushmann Khurrana, who moves to Pune, pretending to be a blind musician, and gets entangled in a murder plot helmed by Tabu's character.

While Pune does not seem like an instant choice to set a quirky thriller like Andhadhun in, the reason Sriram decided to set the film in the city was an emotional one. 

The filmmaker wanted to capture the city in his film at least once as it is changing rapidly and would soon cease to exist the way he knew it while growing up. 

"When we were thinking of the location for the movie, there were several choices," Sriram revealed. "One choice was Pondicherry. One choice was Panjim, Goa. For some reason, when I used to come to Institute or visit for something, I used to feel that this city is changing so much. And the city I know will soon go. One of the reasons [for setting the film in Pune] was to shoot Prabhat Road, Tulsi Baug and all these other places, so that these places are captured in my movie. Apart from the archival significance, it was my love for the city."

Along with emotion, logistics was a major driving force, he admitted. "Also, the convenience of shooting here. In Bombay it can be a real nightmare sometimes," added Sriram.

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Pune International Film Festival