Mummy is a beautiful, tender, heartwarming film that captures the preparation of separation of 87 year old Zena and her 60 year old mentally handicapped son Jamshed.
It's an endearing, poignant film, a story shot in the style of a documentary, where Jamshed's daily routines and eccentricities are shown and through it we also realise how a beautiful, loving and mature mother-son bond has been formed over the years.
Noone in the world can lovingly manage Jamshed better than his 87 year old loving mother. And now the fear of life without Zena lurks in his life. And when that day comes, this film becomes a heartbreaking watch.
The film premiered at DIFF 2020 receiving rave reviews and is written, directed and produced by Aditi J. Mody. Aditi is from Mumbai, born and raised. and she started her filmmaking journey almost a decade ago. We spoke to Aditi about the film.
Aditi could you tell us about yourself?
I did my Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, and pursued my curiosity of investigation through filmmaking, directing and writing diverse ad films, short films and documentaries. I further quenched my thirst by completing my Masters in Fine Arts (M.F.A) from NYU Tisch School of the Arts where I further sharpened my craft and worked for Emmy nominated producers like Lydia Dean Pilcher and other such fiercely talented female filmmakers.
I am drawn to stories that deal with the internal and external challenges of being a woman in the world. I aim to capture them with all their complicated, misjudged, forgotten, abundant gifts and lessons they have taught me, and hopefully through my films, teach audiences of the world.
How did the idea of this film came about?
My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the 3rd time at 87 in Jan 2019. This forced us to look at what would happen in regards to my uncle, Jamsheed in her inevitable absence. I decided to present this question to my mother and uncles (his siblings) through this film and help them look into a mirror to deal with their opposing views on his caretaking. I was inspired and am inspired by ordinary women who do extraordinary things and this is exactly what I set out to capture and explore with my grandmother and uncle’s relationship.
What were the key challenges you faced during the making of the film ?
Ofcourse the obvious challenge was dealing with 2 non actors. 1 above the age of 85 and the other who had a severe mental disability. It was a challenge to get what I had scripted (even though it was their regular routine) and so I had to craft ways to get what I wanted. We introduced the camera to Jamsheed early on in the preproduction process which I had spread out over a month so that we could explore (as a crew) their day to day, likes, dislikes and reactions to us. I think because we were able to let go of the script in moments, we caught some real authentic moments which I might not have been able to capture if I had been as strict with them about lines and actions. It was almost like shooting a documentary but with repeated coverage and each time, something new would play out before the camera.
Could you tell us about your festival journey?
So far it’s only made it’s way to Dharamshala International Film Festival. It was well received, I kind received emails from Kiran Rao and Sooni Taraporewala who has a chance to watch the film on the festival website and Ofcourse close friends and family that supported and encouraged it. It might be headed to the Austin and Seattle south Asian film festivals. I’m very hopeful and have big plans for our special little film.
We wish Aditi the best for her future projects.
Directed, Written and Produced: by Aditi Mody
Cinematography: Jall Cowasji
Sound Recording: Kishore Chauhan
Sound Mixing and Design: Allwin Rego
Composer: Anurag Shankar
Distribution Support: Guneet Monga