Writer turned

director duo Siddharth and Garima

talk about the journey of the film ‘


‘ that deals with the subject of surrogacy, the struggle they faced to get an established


on board and how they spent money from their pockets for the poster of the film. Excerpts:

How excited are you for the release of ‘Dukaan’?

Garima: Finally, the day has come when Dukaan’s trailer is releasing. The film is coming out in theatres.

Siddharth and I love box office challenges. We thought of Dukaan’s idea way back in 2010, when we wanted to tell a story of a surrogate woman and explore the commercial world of surrogacy in Anand, Gujarat. The main reason behind this is that we are screenwriters. This emotion resonates with us because a surrogate delivers a baby on a contract and hands it over. Isn’t that similar to a writer’s life? We write scripts for people on a contractual basis. We love that script but we know that it is someone else’s. We get emotional about it. Once it is handed over to others they make it the way they want it. They make good films, but often there’s no acknowledgment. It stems from a place where screenwriters have very little acknowledgment in this industry as much as you need them for your films.

What was the creative process behind ‘Dukaan’?

Garima: The journey of making Dukaan started in 2015 when we started visiting the town of Anand in Gujarat. There were surrogacy homes where 50-60 pregnant women stay under one roof, who had passed six months of pregnancy. Their families used to come to visit them. They would organize baby showers for these women. That would change their lives in some way or the other. Someone could get a roof above their head, someone’s child went to study in a good school. These women would come from the neighbouring villages/towns of Anand. The criteria for surrogacy is that you need to be a married woman and should have one child already. We met a lot of women and listened to their stories. We met surrogate parents as well and understood their points of view and mentality too. We met doctors as well. So, a good 3-4 years of research has gone into it.

Shed some light on the casting process…

Garima: No actress wanted to play a

pregnant woman

, there’s no actress that we haven’t pitched this idea to. All of them liked the story but they had an inhibition, ‘I am young, how can I play a pregnant woman’. The situation is that women don’t put on weight during pregnancy because they come from villages so they’re working all the time and are very fit. Nobody understood that point of view. Then we noticed this new girl (Monika Panwar) on the block who was in Jamtara. She was amazing. We auditioned her and knew that we found Jasmin for ‘Dukaan’.

Describe the journey ahead…

Siddharth: Once we found Monika Panwar, we did a poster shoot with her by investing our money. There was no producer on board at that time. At that time we had money to put up only one hoarding, in Juhu. We thought that putting up a hoarding would create a buzz in the market. After that, we got many calls from the industry. Even Sanjay sir (Bhansali) called appreciating the hoarding. Then we got producers on board – Shikha and Amar. Shikha agreed to produce it after listening to a one-liner story. We narrated the film to Amar over Zoom. Within five minutes he was also on board. That’s how the film went into production.

How does ‘Dukaan’ have a Sandeep Vanga Reddy connection?

Siddharth: The interesting thing was that Sandeep Vanga Reddy was in Mumbai when the hoarding was put up. He’s a very good friend of ours. We have written Kabir Singh’s dialogues for him. He was mind-blown by the concept of the film and tweeted about the same. We made the film during covid time. It took time in the post-production. We were thinking about where to release the film. We were very keen on a theatrical release. Things started falling into place this January. Our deals started working out and we decided to release ‘Dukaan’ in theatres. The scale at which we have shot the film is justified for a theatrical release. The trailer is being launched by Sandeep Reddy Vanga who has been a witness of our journey and struggles. He too made ‘Arjun Reddy’ by taking a risk. That’s the reason why we felt there was no one else better than him to launch the trailer of ‘Dukaan’. We are very excited about it.

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