'3 Storeys' throws light on community living
The joys of community living have often been captured in Hindi cinema.
In 'Padosan' (1968), a boy falls in love with a girl who is his neighbour, but the happy ending is achieved only after an initial phase of competitiveness. In 'Sholay' (1975), Jai and Veeru team up with the villagers of Ramgarh to fight the evil dacoit, Gabbar and his men. 'Mili' (1975) showcased how a girl who is full of life and also battling a terminal illness spreads cheer amongst all the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. 'Katha' (1983), set in a Mumbai chawl, created memorable characters and was a film that highlighted the age-old adage, ‘All that glitters is not gold’. Recently, 'Lipstick Under My Burkha' narrated the stories of four women — living in the same locality in Bhopal — who are victims and survivors of patriarchy.
And now, '3 Storeys', directed by debutant Arjun Mukerjee and starring Richa Chadha, Sharman Joshi, Pulkit Samrat, Renuka Shahane, Aisha Ahmed and Ankit Rathi.
It tells the stories of common people who live in a Mumbai chawl. On the surface, its residents seem to be a regular bunch. However, delve deep into their lives, and it becomes clear that each one has a mysterious side.
Ask Richa if people living in chawls have to compromise on their privacy and she says, “I don’t think that your privacy is jeopardised if you live in a chawl. It is not a situation where you have common bathrooms.
If you ask me, chawls in Mumbai are similar to the mohalla system in Delhi. When I would come home, the aunty next door would ask us, ‘Beta, khana khaaya? Teri mummy der se aa rahi hain’. In my home in Delhi, all the terraces were connected; we would cross over and go to the neighbours’ house. Pulkit and I have had a similar upbringing. While I grew up in a joint family, Pulkit still lives in such a set-up. So, there was always a sense of community during our growing-up years. A kid would never be alone at home; there is always someone’s tai or chachi to look after you. We are trying to showcase that as opposed to ‘no privacy’. I have been to enough chawls and have never noticed such issues.”
Pulkit adds, “In my house in Delhi, we could smell if something tasty was being cooked next door, and would just walk in to partake of it. During power cuts, the entire mohalla would meet on the terrace.”
'3 Storeys', an Open Air Films production produced by Priya Sreedharan, Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar, and presented by Excel Entertainment & B4U Motion Pictures, releases tomorrow.