Gone are the days when directors would vie for big budget projects, popular starcast , larger than life storyline. These days a socially relevant film that entertains while passing a message to the society is exciting enough. That’s precisely how debutant director Jai Basantu Singh feels about his maiden venture Janhit Mein Jaari. “I really couldn’t have found a better project to kickstart my directorial journey,” says Singh.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Jai Basantu Singh’s journey to film industry was predestined. His mother was a huge film buff, and he grew up amidst film shoots and film screenings. “My mother was total film buff and would watch all films first day first show. She would take me to watch a lot of films also. That’s where I picked up the love for cinema. I grew up in Goregaon, Mumbai. That’s where most of the film studios are located. I still remember, I would bunk school and go and watch shootings on the sets for hours. I knew even then; this is the industry I wanted to get in. I wanted to be the man, the name called director. While many of my friends would be interested in watching the actors, I used to be fascinated by this person who would call the shots. The one everyone would listen to and follow. I didn’t know what a director was but I knew back then too, this is who I wanted to be. This was my dream in watching the person in my childhood,” says Singh with certainty.
Janhit Mein Jaari didn’t just fall in Singh’s lap. There were long, struggle some years before getting his chance to helm a full length feature film. Singh recalls his journey and says, “When I entered the industry, I went straight into production and it didn’t take much time for me to realise that direction was my true calling. I worked as an assistant director for 3-4 years and then joined Zee Tv as campaign and promo director. I shot 600-700 campaigns and promos of fiction and reality shows. That’s where my journey into direction began. My boss then, Puneet Goenka and Ashwini Yardi really gave me a free hand to shoot the way I wanted. I would really owe a great deal of my learning years to Zee Tv and both of them. In 2008 I quit Zee and went onto independently direct campaigns and promos of almost all big broadcasters. In 2009 recession came and that’s when i started directing Tv shows as set up director where my journey of telling a story from 30 sec to 30 min began. I owe a great deal of my journey upto this point to television shows. I couldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for all the campaigns and tv shows I directed.”
Singh directed many popular and successful shows like Ye Un Dino Ki Baat Hai, Ek Duje Ke Vaste, Ye Pyaar Nahi To Kya Hai, Ye Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Namune, Jeannie Aur Jiju many hit shows.
I came on this project as Screenplay writer but wherever I used to narrate the script is it to actors, studios, or producers they always acknowledged of how effortlessly I narrate without even looking at the script even once that too for straight two and half hours. That is when my team, producers and studios started telling me that I should direct the film. Seeing the faith people had in me, I got the strength to direct this film.
He further adds, “Janhit Mein Jaari is a challenging subject. It’s about a woman who’s a salesgirl for condoms. In a country that still finds condom as a taboo word, I had to be very mindful to treat this subject delicately. I was walking a thin line. I didn’t want this film to be preachy but pass a good message at the same time. Didn’t want people to make fun of it but wanted to make this film entertaining too. But things eventually fell in place and I got the talented actress Nushrratt Bharuccha to work with who couldn’t be more right for this role. Even the rest of the cast was all very supportive. I really want this film to be a family entertainer and not a TV commercial people awkwardly move away from at homes.”