Mai director Milind Dhaimade recalls facing depression before the film | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

Mai director Milind Dhaimade recalls having depression, calls his short film cathartic

Nov 01, 2023 04:19 PM IST

In an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, Milind Dhaimade talks about working on the short film Mai that was recently screened at MAMI film fest.

Filmmaker Milind Dhaimade, who is best known for Tu Hai Mera Sunday, talks about making a film on the connection between food and moms, filmmaking, and much more in an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times. The 40-minute-long film features Kunaal Roy Kapur and Shahana Goswami in lead roles. It is a part of the anthology Lost and Found. (Also read| Agra director Kanu Behl: 'It is not a matter of the audience's taste or need, its more on the gatekeepers')

Shahana Goswami and Kunal Kapur in a still from Milind Dhaimade's film Mai.
Shahana Goswami and Kunal Kapur in a still from Milind Dhaimade's film Mai.

Milind on the origin of Mai

Talking about the origin of Mai, Milind said, “Sometime ago, Honey Trehan called me and told me about this anthology they were doing. They were asking select directors to make a couple of short films on the theme of lost and found. It was kind of a low time for me. I was sitting, doing nothing much actually. So, I wrote this short film called Mai, based on the theme.” Milind added that he was thrilled when the film got selected for screening at MAMI, because there is “no bigger joy than having your film on a big screen”.

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He added, “When Honey called me for Mai, I was going through a massive…actually, I was going through clinical depression. I was mentally in a bad shape. And when he called, my inner instinct was to refuse, but I just said yes. I think that journey of Mai was therapeutic for me. It actually brought me out of that whole depth of feelings which I was in, it just pulled me out of that. It was like an amazing catharsis. So for me, Mai will always be very special.”

The house as an actor in Mai

A major part of Mai is set inside a small flat. Talking about the house in which they got to shoot the film, the filmmaker said, “I think for us the toughest part was getting the house. We were always wondering ‘How are we going to manage that'. With such limited resources, we obviously can't build a set. Luckily, this small house in Matunga came up. An uncle and auntie used to live alone and I found that house perfect. So that house was part of the casting only. I think it's a third actor in the whole process. And it was amazing, like, there's no need to work on it, there's nothing to do, just let it be.”

Mai and mom

The short film, Mai, explores the bond that a middle-aged man shares with his mother. It focusses on the food that connected the mother-son duo, but we don't get to meet the mom. Why did he choose to show the bond in such a manner? “For me, it is the journey of this man, and the symbolism of the mother is through the food. That was very important, the mother then becomes a presence more than actually the character of the mom, which wasn't as important as what her cooking meant to him in his life. I think the larger relationship we all have is food, especially moms and Indian men. So, I thought that was a powerful connection.”

Mai at JIO MAMI Film festival

Mai was recently screened at the ongoing Jio MAMI Film Festival. It is produced by Lalit Prem Sharma's Colosceum Media Pvt Ltd. and Honey Trehan and Abhishek Chaubey's Macguffin Pictures. The film has had two screenings at MAMI, and a third one will be held on November 3.


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    Sweta Kaushal has 13 years of experience covering Bollywood and regional movies, TV shows, national current affairs and social issues.

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