#ELLEVoices: Nupur Asthana On How She Is #ImaginingTheWorldToBe
For ELLE India’s 24th Anniversary Issue, we decided to feature select women (and some men) who have stood out as strong role models in their fields. We were keen on knowing their thoughts on how they perceive the future to be, how they see their individual industries evolving, how they intend to meet the challenges and what their hope for the world is.
An entire generation felt that they too graduated with the Class XII of DeNobili High, as they watched Hip Hip Hurray! Writer and Director Nupur Asthana went on to helm many shows – most recently, Four More Shots Please! – that resonated beautifully with her viewers. She chats with us about understanding her audience.
ELLE: What are some of your self-revelations and discoveries in the last few months?
Nupur Asthana: I’ve developed an appreciation and respect for the things I took for granted. I’ve understood how little we really need to make us comfortable. I’ve learnt about resilience, adapting, and staying physically and mentally fit.
ELLE: What has the crisis shown us as a community?
NA: That we need to invest way more in education, science and research, and that nature cannot be bent to human will. Our current social isolation has brought home the value of human connection and the fact that we need to go beyond borders to work together. Consumption and material love don’t mean much. Restoring a natural balance and helping the planet and mankind to heal is vitally important.
ELLE: What do you see as challenges in your field in the near future?
NA: I think one of the biggest challenges will be getting audiences back into the movie theatres. The magic of watching a film in a darkened theatre on the big screen with hundreds of viewers is unmatched.
ELLE: What are your suggestions to tackle it?
NA: The way we conceive our scripts and scenes may temporarily undergo a subtle shift. Perhaps more intimate stories will be told instead of big films set in various continents and cities with hundreds of extras. VFX will play a larger role to compensate for the constraints in the current scenario.
ELLE: Where do you draw the inspiration for your characters and how do you keep up with the audience’s changing mindsets?
NA: I’m always keen on getting under the skin of regular folks; understanding their vulnerabilities and frailties, figuring out what makes them tick. I’m highly interested in sociology, the arts, the culture around me and the times we live in. I like dealing with characters, who at their core, are decent human beings; even if their journeys are torturous and they wade into murky waters. I like to see how they can find their way back to the shore, transformed, with some learning. Most of my characters undergo a search for the self. I go on that journey with complete honesty and authenticity. My audience, most young people, is sharp and smart. Their emotions, insecurities, fears, self-doubt and hopes—they have stayed the same as ours. This universality helps me keep up with them.
ELLE: The world is moving towards making conscious choices. What are your views on ‘thoughtful fashion’?
NA: We’re all becoming more thoughtful about what and where we shop, and the impact our acquisitions have on the environment. The fashion fraternity and us, consumers, need to come together to reduce the effects of climate change through collective action. If all design houses embrace new textiles made from food and agro-waste, they would be working with nature instead of against it. If the Indian fashion industry can manufacture nature-friendly fashion on a wider scale at a cost that is not exorbitant, then more consumers will be able to reduce their carbon footprints and indulge in guilt-free fashion.
ELLE: How are you #ImaginingTheWorldToBe post-COVID-19?
NA: I imagine it to be kinder, more empathetic and compassionate than it was earlier.