Independent filmmaker Shailja Gupta, whose first feature film "Walkaway" highlights the clutches of social obligations on young Indian professionals settled in New York, says it is a relationship film from the guys' point of view and she took inspiration from the lives of her investment-banker friends.
A light-comedy drama, the film follows the lives of four friends who struggle to balance the traditional values of their youth with modern environs in New York. It explores the subtleties of that inevitable Indian question - marriage.
"With 'Walkaway', I decided to make my own feature film. I was inspired by investment bankers," Gupta told IANS.
"I saw how they used to study in India, come here and live... go for arranged marriages. I got inspired to make a film from the guy's point of view. Every character is inspired from a friend of mine," she added.
"Walkaway", a 2009-2010 production with Manu Narayan, Samrat Chakrabarti, Sanjiv Jhaveri and Manish Dayal among others in the cast, was appreciated in the US and now Gupta plans to release it here soon.
Now settled in New YorK, she studied in Kolkata and worked as a web designer in Mumbai. Later, she launched web development company Techshastra (I) Pvt. Ltd. with her business partner Nishith Shah and their first major project was SRKWORLD.
She also handled international marketing for "Chokher Bali" and worked as an assistant script supervisor for "Raincoat".
Meanwhile, the director is working on next project and said her next film will be different than this one.
"There are two genres, which I am attempting at. I love comedies and thrillers. Also, for the last two to three years, I have watched every action film. I would love to make a crazy, action film. I am working on a script," said Gupta.
A big fan of Indian cinema, the director feels proud to talk about her culture.
"I am far from India and when I talk about our films here, I feel proud. Indian cinema is an extension of where I come from," she said.
"I grew up in 1970s-1980s. I have seen from black and white films to everything," she said and added when she was a kid, "on the weekend we used to hire VCR and everyone used get a chance to see films. I have seen quite a lot of films," she added.
Her passion for Indian films is evident from the fact that to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema, she has made a collection of digital paintings of both veteran and new actors of the industry.
"I was actually working on my second script and I was working on a couple of writers in India. They were taking some time to get back and I had some time on my hands."
"I was reading a lot of articles on 100 years of Indian cinema. I started with Amitabh Bachchan's image and started working on it. It just took a turn from there and turned into a full fledged project," she said.
From iconic legends like Raj Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Madhubala, Nargis, Rekha to current stars Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone - Gupta has captured more than 150 Bollywood celebrities in her digital paintings.