Film Education

Piya Aiso Jiya Mein – A Tribute and Critique to Indian Cinema by Oorvazi Irani


Its a joy to share with you my latest short experimental one minute film, a humble tribute and critique to Indian cinema. Please read the interview conducted by MAM (madabout which helps share my thoughts about the idea behind the making of the film and helps put the film in context which might seem apparently simple on first viewing. The interview is right below this film window and please do read it.


MAM interviews Oorvazi Irani, the filmmaker and actress of “Piya Aiso Jiya Mein”

Q: This is an unusual yet original short film. What thoughts prompted this cinematic experiment?

O- A: Primarily there is so much hype around the 100 years of Indian Cinema, I thought how can I make a meaningful artistic comment in a concise manner which is both a tribute and a critique at the same time. Hence this idea was born.

Q: The film seems very simple at the surface and the viewer could easily miss the point, but the work has an interesting thought and is obviously complex with multiple layers unfolding, can you elaborate a bit about the thinking behind the film and the cinematic form you have used? And can we call it a musical?

O-A: Let me start by saying that any work of Art prompts and evokes the viewer to ‘see’, ‘look’ and ‘perceive’ the subject of the work in this case Indian Cinema in a fresh new light – Art takes you intuitively to the heart of the subject while experiencing beauty. More like a poem or a painting. Here for example there is the beauty of the music, the close up of the eternal human face, the eyes which express the inner mental state, the mirror motif etc.

Yes you are right by defining it as a musical as it is the song that drives the film which embodies the emotion and the progression of the film. ‘Song’ itself is a very unique and integral part of Indian cinema which is put into play in my experimental short film and is my chosen mould to explore as an artist.

The film is akin to a love poem with the theme being the ‘quest for the beloved’, however there is a character graph and the protagonist is transformed in the end.The song as you know is iconic from Guru Dutt’s film Sahib Biwi Aur Gulam and I have replaced the image of the legendary actress Meena Kumari and deliberately used my face which is then a universal representative of all females and have taken the avatar of the ‘Nayika’(heroine). I have kept the first lines of the song from the original which I have lip synced and the last section has my voice with the message. The line with the message is my original line camouflaged in the song lyrics. In the process the film begins with paying a tribute to the beauty and charm of Indian cinema and then ends on a note of expressing the desires for change – the liberation of the identity of women in Indian cinema.

Q: The film does not have elaborate sets, locations or characters but is focused on one individual and that too in close-up with just one prop. Were you apprehensive about its appeal?

O-A: No! As I believe an artist needs to set up certain creative limitations, these are the challenges that then help create a unique work. The choices that you make are then what make it special. We see so many films that have big sets and big budgets but maybe do not leave you with a stimulating thought to ponder. The choice of the close-up was because besides it being an important form of the original iconic song itself it helps the filmmaker to draw attention to the beauty and grace of the minute expressions of the face and the emotions are expressed through the language of the eyes which is rare in contemporary cinema.Today I feel more and more that the ‘female body’ has replaced the ‘face’ in songs in Indian cinema stressing the physicality ‘Love as sex’and with this is lost the depth of emotion. The personality of the heroine is more about her sexuality than her as a human being, commoditized. Liberating the role of women in cinema is not just about making her sexually active but instead more about treating her as an individual, giving her gender equality.The Indian women still remains caged in the patriarchal system of oppression –of individual self-worth, and their identity is limited and dependent to the male. This is a strong message that the film subtlety puts out.

Also the close-up was necessary and part of the exploration as the film is dealing with the ‘Shringar Rasa’ (one of the key Rasas in the ancient Indian treatise on Indian art – The Natya Shastra) of union and separation in Love and finally discovering that ‘Self’ and ‘Truth’ is truly finding the beloved. The film is to be understood in the context of the nuances of this rasa where Love is far beyond just physical eroticism but envelopes the beauty of the experience of Love and the movements of eyebrows, eyeballs, sweet glances and delicate smile, along with down cast glances and closing of eyes – is a vocabulary beyond words and the Natya Shastra is rich with minute descriptions of ‘glances’ as a whole exploration – some of the glances for transitory states are Lajjanvita(bashful), Lalita (amorous), Ardhamukula(joy or bliss)which are humbly touched upon in my small experiment besides other aspects.
The simple motif of the mirror in the film plays an integral role and is charged, in it lays the clue of the transformation and discovery of ‘Self’.

Finally an artist creates the work and thus created is an expression of a labour of love, the audience adds their own self to it and accepts and completes it or rejects the work and leaves it as an incomplete communication. I have no problem if the audience cannot identify with my work but I feel the audience needs to understand the context with which the film is to be viewed and then accept or reject it.

Q: And lastly, can you tell us why did you choose this particular Meena Kumari song ?

O- A: Meena Kumari fascinates me as a persona on screen and in real life. She has a very strong presence and her eyes are soulful. She is one of the few actresses who haunt you with her beauty and pathos. Meena Kumari has been an iconic actress during the golden era of Indian cinema. Her persona embodies the ’eternal yearning’ for the beloved both in real and reel life, and I wanted to pay her a tribute by completing her story and liberate her at least in the creative realm with this short experimental film.

First published on


10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Ma’am..’WOW’!!!! What perfect, controlled, beautiful expressions!! And the concept and execution was top notch too!

Comment by Kumar Bhattacharya

Kumar! Thankyou so much. The Nayika appreciates your feedback and kind words 🙂

Comment by oorvazi

very well executed…and the interview doubles up as an excellent background read…

Comment by Sugato Mukherjee

Sugato, thats great to know ! Thank you so much for your response.

Comment by oorvazi

Very poetic and artistic. Reminded me of the beautiful Guru Dutt era.

Comment by Adhiraj Bose

shukriya 🙂 Adhiraj

Comment by oorvazi

its like walking down on memory land of guru dutt and meena kumari ji , with whom all the actor wanted to work , the exact balance of expression and usage of eyes , eye browses and mirror refection simply great , great shoots , execution is amazing , as far i understood you mam only u can dare do this ..
you rocks

Comment by piyush harne

How sweet Piyush, appreciate the warm regard

Comment by oorvazi

This is sheer brilliance! Simplistic. Classy… very well executed.Saw this post on Aman’s timeline. got blown over. 🙂
I dont belong to the film fraternity but im a slave to anything thats artsy-genuine-heartfelt ..Tis film wil appeal to any1 who appreciates true art.You have a new fan Oorvazi Irani mam. 🙂

Comment by Wrisha Dutta

Thats so sweet 🙂
Thanks a ton for all your appreciation

Comment by oorvazi

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