The film Double XL, starring Huma Qureshi and Sonakshi Sinha, is almost ready for distribution. The film is a comedy that focuses on body image and women who are body shamed. As implied by the title, Huma and Sonakshi Sinha star as two plus-size women fighting prejudices. Satramm Ramani, the film’s director, talked with Hindustan Times about the film’s concept, mixing humour with compassion, and how he had to ensure that his actors did not acquire too much weight.
Extracted from the conversation:
What was the origin of the film, and how did Huma and Sonakshi become involved?
Because we cast the actors beforehand, the plot of this film is unique. Thus, Huma and Sonakshi served as the inspiration. Then came the narrative, about which they were both rather enthusiastic. After that, I boarded the ship.
This is a comedy on the delicate topic of body shaming and body image. It must be handled with delicacy. How did you strike a balance between not upsetting people and incorporating humour?
We were quite clear from the beginning of the writing process that we did not want to be preachy or make light of the situation we are discussing. If it is an issue-based picture, I do not want to make light of that problem. Furthermore, I do not want to offend anyone’s feelings. It was understood by all parties. Laughter and humour are there, but we are careful not to offend anybody. Therefore, the world has humour, but we don’t necessarily make fun of anyone’s size, shape, or weight.
You said that the performers were the source of inspiration and that they were the first to arrive. Now, according to the screenplay, they had to gain weight and take on a certain appearance. Given the attention female performers in the profession receive about their looks, did they express any worry regarding weight gain?
In no way. Both of these girls were so cooperative that I had to reprimand them. I did not want them to act irresponsibly. They were sincere and committed to the endeavour. They constantly insisted that they were there for what I wanted on-screen. In fact, they stated they would bless you since, for the first time, we now have a director who permits us to eat anything we want.
No mentions of fatsuits or prosthetics?
There is a belief that only large-scale or high-budget Hindi films have a chance of doing well at the box office in 2014. Have you had any anxieties when watching this slice-of-life film in light of the current climate?
When a film is successful, we provide 10 reasons, but when a film is unsuccessful, we provide one hundred. I believe there are several causes and points of view about what works and why it does. This topic may continue for quite some time. My sole opinion is that a film with an engaging plot will be successful. People will appreciate this.
Also starring in Double XL are Zaheer Iqbal, Mahat Raghavendra, and cricketer Shikhar Dhwan on his cinematic debut. It will be released on November 4 in theatres.