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Anurag Kashyap, Imtiaz Ali Inspired Me to Transition from TV to Bollywood: Janhit Mein Jaari Director

Jai Basantu Singh recently made his filmmaking debut in Bollywood with the film Janhit Mein Jaari. He has worked as a writer, director and producer in the Hindi TV industry. Jai started in the entertainment world by working as the director for various ad films, campaigns and music videos.

In 2008, he made his directorial debut with a couple of episodes for the TV serial called Kahani Humaray Mahabharat Ki. He has also directed a few episodes of Mohe Rang De and yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. Jai went on to direct over 20 TV serials, which include popular shows like Jeanie Aur Juju, Namune, Yeh Pyaar Nahi To Kya Hai and Just Dance.

When asked what made him make his directorial debut in Bollywood at this point, Jai said, “Everyone dreams of becoming a filmmaker ultimately, you just start learning with other medium before reaching there. For me television was that learning ground; whatever I’m directing today is based on what I learned from television. And plus, I don’t have that background where I could come into a Bollywood and start directing a film. And so my inspiration was all those directors who have come from television and have been doing well in Bollywood. Directors like Anurag Basu, Imtiaz Ali, Aanand L Rai, Anurag Kashyap, Hansal Mehta, Neeraj Pandey – they are all my inspiration. I always dreamt and always thought that one day I will also direct the film. So I was just following their path.”

Janhit Main Jaari is a social comedy starring Nushrratt Bharuccha, written and produced by Raaj Shaandilyaa and directed by Jai Basantu Singh. The film set in small town India and with a social message to make condoms more acceptable as a safe contraception method. Nushratt plays a woman who begins working at a condom company as a salesperson, and the hurdles she faces both inside and outside her home.

Talking about the aim behind making the film on such a subject, the director said, “As a director, as a writer, it is my responsibility to make condom a commonly accepted word. It should be a word easily used among family members, parents should teach their children the importance of using a condom, that should be the aim. In western countries you will see people openly talking about it, condom machines put up at places, because it is a matter of safety.”

Jai also blames the wrong messaging associated with condoms as a product for the stigma attached to it. “Any condom advertisement that you see about condoms on television, it talks about pleasure and flavours. Extra dotted, extra thin, chocolate and strawberry flavours. Condoms were invented for precaution, when did it become an instrument for pleasure? No one is talking about the woman’s safety,” Jai exclaimed.

Janhit Mein Jaari was lauded for highlighting an important and oft-ignored aspect of safe sex, especially in semi-urban and rural India.

“When I was doing my research all over Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh before writing the screenplay of the film, I couldn’t find a single man who said he likes to use a condom. So what pleasure are we talking about. And not using a condom leads to so many abortions and deaths. That is what we wanted to convey through the film,” Jai added.

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