Tanuja Chandra's docu-film Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha set to premiere at the MAMI Festival this October
Death is the only sure thing in life. But should we wait for it or enjoy life while we live? Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha, a heart-warming documentary film by noted filmmaker Tanuja Chandra addresses this eternal question through the beautiful lives of her 86 and 93 years old paternal aunts living in Lahra, a quaint suburban village only a couple of hours away from New Delhi. The film follows the two widowed women, who amble around on their walkers -- one with a toothless smile -- laughing, gossiping, quarrelling, ordering the domestic help around before retiring for the day on their double bed.
After its recent world premiere at the Madrid International Film Festival, followed by screening at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival and the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival, Seattle, the film is gearing up for its Indian release at the Jio Mami film festival with Star in the spotlight section between October 17 and 24.
It's an occasion that calls for double celebration for Tnauja since, besides this docu, her short film, A Monsoon Date, starring Konkona Sen Sharma will also be screened at the American festivals as well. " I started out as a television journalist, writing and editing stories about people, stories that were light or serious, melodramatic or slice-of-life. I had wanted to document the charmed existence of my aunts for a while. When I finally decided to visit them in their village home, I wasn’t sure what to expect. And I have to say – the taste of crisp and lovely springtime with them filled my heart with warmth. I felt I had touched an actual and sweet grace that’s possibly going to stay with me till my own sunset years. If viewers feel this grace too, then I would have brought a modicum of dignity to ageing people in the world and for that, I feel fortunate as a director," tells Tanuja.
Tanuja tells us that this film has the same easy-going tone that this oddball group does, and yet it teaches us very gently and subtly how conversations of death improve our quality of life. "Our protagonists cannot travel and yet their world and their lives will be witnessed at these global film festivals. It's a beautiful irony," feels Anupama Mandloi, a television veteran, who has produced the doc under her banner, A Boy and A Dog Productions.