Interview Hindi

Shainaa Nathh Taldar: Guns Of Banaras wouldn’t have been possible without my father’s guidance

A stylist and designer working in Hindi cinema for long, Shainaa, daughter of industry veteran Rakesh Nath, makes her debut as producer with the Karann Nathh-starrer.

Keyur Seta

Shainaa Nathh Taldar has had a long career as designer and stylist in the film industry, working mostly with Madhuri Dixit Nene. Now, she is all set to make her debut as a producer with Guns Of Banaras. Directed by Shekkhar Suri, the film stars her brother Karann Nathh with Abhimanyu Singh, Shilpa Shirodkar and Nathalia Kaur.

In an exclusive conversation with, Nathh Taldar said her goal from the start was to make films. “I always wanted to do that," she said. "I always had the inclination for working behind the camera because of the background I belong to. I am interested in every aspect of filmmaking. So I have done designing, styling, worked in production, editing, post-production. I have also studied direction.”

Guns Of Banaras is the official Hindi remake of the Tamil film Polladhavan (2007), starring Dhanush. Nathh Taldar said her team was going through films made in various languages and came across this one. “Sometimes during a search we find something and feel, ‘This is it!’ This happened with me when I saw Polladhavan. Dhanush is outstanding in it. That’s why we picked Polladhavan. It was, I think, the best decision I have made,” she said.

Karann Nathh makes a comeback of sorts with this film. He has earlier starred in films like Yeh Dil Aashiqanaa (2002) and Tum (2004). “Karann suited the role the best," his sister said. "Nobody suits this role as much as him. I have worked on this film as a producer, not as his sister. After you see the film, you will agree to that. We didn’t need someone with a set mind.”

Nathh Taldar was impressed to see Karann work out daily without fail. “Even if he is working the whole day, he will exercise at 1 o'clock in the night," she said. "He is a complete health freak like my father.” Their father, Rakesh Nath, was the long-time manager of 1980s and 1990s star Madhuri Dixit. He later turned producer himself.

Karann Nathh had also acted in Sudhir Mishra’s Tera Kya Hoga Johnny, which starred Neil Nitin Mukesh and Soha Ali Khan, but the film never made it to the theatres. “Man proposes, god disposes,” Shainaa Nathh Taldar philosophized. “You try and do many things in life, but if god doesn’t want it to happen, it’s not going to happen. Unfortunately, Tera Kya Hoga Johnny got pirated. It was seen in just a few festivals.”

She said Karann Nathh was offered a lot of slapstick and sex comedies with three or four heroes after that, but he did not want to do them. “He wanted to do good-quality work," she said. "So time went by waiting for the right opportunity.”

Guns Of Banaras also marks actress Shilpa Shirodkar's comeback after 20 years. Her last film before this one was the painter MF Husain’s Gajagamini (2000), which starred Madhuri Dixit Nene.

In Guns Of Banaras, Shirodkar plays the wife of Abhimanyu Singh’s character. “It has been a long association [with her]," the first-time producer said. "We are family friends. Her character is subtle and solid.

"Shilpa has that beauty about her," she continued, obviously a fan. "She looks the relaxed and happy-go-lucky type. But she can immediately switch to someone very strong. Like Karann, I can’t imagine anyone else in this role. She and Abhimanyu Singh are outstanding.”

Asked about changes to the Polladhavan script to suit a Hindi audience, Nathh Taldar said they had kept it as is. “The film by Mr Vetrimaaran is so beautiful that we didn’t want to change anything," she said. "The only difference is that Polladhavan is based in Tamil Nadu and this is based in Banaras. So, you will find that UP [Uttar Pradesh] flavour in it.”

Contrary to popular belief, production is not an easy job and Nathh Taldar agrees after completing her first film. “There is so much creativity," she said. "But you are always on the go. It is not the kind of job where you can take a break.

"But the journey has been amazing. You get to learn a lot and meet so many people. You get to learn from someone senior also as you are not always right. It’s a lot of hard work.”

Rakesh Nath

Shainaa Nathh Taldar credits her father for her journey as a producer. “Without his guidance I couldn’t have done it," she said. "I owe everything to him. He is my driving force. Whenever I face a challenge, I see him and I am ready to try it.”

As for the future, the newly minted producer already has a few scripts in the pipeline, including a remake of another film from the South. But she said a decision will be made in a few months. For now, the focus is on Guns Of Banaras, which is set for release tomorrow.