Oscar-nominated filmmaker Meenu Gaur talks about her anthology Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam
Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam from Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi gives a brand new voice to womens films
Her last film Zinda Bhaag, co-directed with Farjad Nabi dealt with the burning topic of illegal migration and it made it to the Oscar nominations in 2014. And now, London-based filmmaker Meenu Gaur has collaborated again with Nabi for Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam, an anthology that breaks the stereotypical image of unapologetic women on screen. “Ever since celluloid happened, we’ve had all kinds of heroes — bad boys to angry men — but when it comes to heroines, if they are different then they are typecast as cold-hearted vamps. The series discards this binary. I chose the title Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam because it embodies femininity, beauty and a threat to social order, not per se men,” explains Gaur. We caught up with Meenu for a quick chat about the show. Excerpts.
If you had a chance, who do you think you would have added in the cast from the Indian film industry?
I would have loved to cast actors like Ratna Pathak Shah and Tabu as two of the qaatil haseenas.
Directing seven women in one project must have been challenging…
It was challenging and demanding. It was getting the casting right and working through the rehearsals with the lead cast that made the process simpler. Sarwat Gillani and I had very good communication, Meher Bano is somebody who gets me really excited, Sanam Saeed was like watching a musician at work and both Samiya Mumtaz and Faiza Gillani like to do a lot of work around the script. Beo and I have worked before and she is very straightforward when choosing her roles. However, the real revelation was the men who have owned the darker side with such panache.
Tell us about your partnership with Nabi?
Farjad and I have been collaborating on and off for at least a decade now. When this idea was commissioned, I went to Farjad and narrated the concept and his excitement matched mine. The mood, atmosphere, genre and format were something he really wanted to sink his teeth into. When the writing started, Farjad was brilliantly spot on with the world I wanted for the series. It was meant to be.
Why did you choose to tell these stories as an anthology?
I love the anthology format and am drawn to it as a maker and viewer. I think episodic short form allows you to explore multiple themes in the same series. Take the Black Mirror anthology for instance — intellectually and thematically that show couldn’t have done what it did if it was one continuous story. Streaming on Zee5.