Debutant director Kiran Rao describes her film Dhobi Ghat as art house cinema and says audiences shouldn't perceive it as another commercially viable movie from her filmmaker husband Aamir Khan's production house.
'The film is half in English therefore you cut out a large section of the audience. It's at least 40 percent in English. Traditional audiences are mostly who understand and enjoy Hindi films and it is clearly less than half who are comfortable in English or who speak English. Also, in its filmmaking aesthetics, it's different from what people are used to watching,' said Kiran.
'Language is one of the factors that will reduce my audience. Peepli Live is a very plot driven film. My script is quite different, my treatment, my inspiration and a lot of the things that I wanted to do is very different,' said Kiran.
'It's a very relatable film, a film with lot of emotion, but a subtle story, quiet film,' she added.
The first look of the film was unveiled Wedenesday. Scheduled for a Jan 21, 2011 release, it is produced by Aamir, who also features in the movie along with Prateik Babbar and two new actresses - Kriti Malhotra and Monica Dogra. The film won critical acclaim at the Toronto and London International Film Festivals.
Kiran feels as her husband's name is associated with her directorial debut, so the expectations will be very high.
'It's really to sensitize people because everybody is looking keenly at this film with an expectation that it's another Aamir Khan blockbuster. To sensitize people that it's a certain kind of film, it's for people with certain sensibility. Not everybody would go to a film festival to watch a film or rent an Iranian film to watch. Through Dhobi Ghat I took an opportunity to make different kind of cinema in India, to broaden our audience.
'But with Aamir comes the liability. It's really to tell people that in filmmaking style Dhobi Ghat is more like world cinema, it's more like art house cinema. So I want people to be aware of it before they come to see it,' said Kiran.
At the same time, she feels no amount of warning can help in changing the perception of moviegoers about an Aamir movie.
Asked how was it to direct Aamir, she said: 'It was very exciting. We both fought and enjoyed it. It was a great experience. He's a dream actor and a dream producer so I had a wonderful time.'
The trailer of the film is segregated in four parts and it is not a plot-based movie, says the director.
'We worked very hard on the trailer. It's a not heavily plot based story, it's much more slice of life film so the trailer was harder to cut. The film is about four people and how their lives intersect and how the city finds its way into their life. So Mumbai is the fifth character in it. So we kind of introduced each of them and their relationship as one meets the other.
'In one trailer, it would have been too much of information. We thought it would be intriguing and nice to watch each separately,' said Kiran.
Kiran kept Aamir and the cast away from the first look of the film.
'Till now, I was known as Mrs. Aamir Khan. I wanted to introduce myself as a filmmaker, as a creative person, as a director and writer. I wanted to introduce my film myself because I wrote the film and also produced it on the ground. I also directed it, so I wanted you to know me,' said Kiran.
For the international circuit, the has been tagged as Mumbai Diaries.