Juni, which releases in theatres on February 9, is about a girl with dissociative identity disorder and what transpires when she meets a potential love interest
There’s a commonly heard joke that if you throw a stone in Bengaluru, you’ll either hit a dog or a software engineer. It’s perhaps time to modify that to dog or film personality, going by the sheer number of engineers taking to the profession in front or behind the camera. One of this week’s Kannada film releases is Juni, directed by debutant Vaibhav Mahadev, who moved from engineering to filmmaking and that too with a love story.
Led by Pruthvi Ambaar and Rishika Naik, Juni is a story that Vaibav developed from his personal experiences with a friend who has dissociative identity disorder, which was earlier known as split personality. The heroine, Rishika, is both Juni and Mansi, in a tale that Vaibhav hopes will not only be a feel-good entertainer, but also shed light on the disorder, its trigger and so on so forth.
The trailer of the film, which came out a few days ago, has a slightly tragic tone to it. Is Juni a tragedy like, say, Dia? “It’s not a tragedy, but the film is open ended and up to the audience to interpret it the way they want; in that sense, it could be a happy ending, or, say, feel-good. The trailer is, perhaps, a tad misleading. I had to cut it in such a way so as to not reveal too much about the plot, and could also not include the comedy from the film, as it is more situational and unfolds over, say, a minute. I cannot keep that duration of content in a 3-minute trailer,” says Vaibhav.
The film, adds the director is not a boy-meets-girl cute love story. “Juni is not the kind of film where the hero meets Juni and they immediately embark on a relationship. I have taken inspiration from the real Juni’s personal relationships to develop this tale. There is no over-glorification of romance and has been presented as is, which, I believe, will make it more relatable. I have tried to keep the narrative as grounded as possible, based on the interactions I have had with Juni and her romantic interests, friends, etc.,” says Vaibhav.
Juni will also shed light on the fact that no matter how much anyone tries to hide or disguise the disorder, it will become apparent that the person is not ordinary. “I have tried to establish these facts in the film, and I hope it translates well. I did show the film to the real-life Juni and she was convinced that people will get what we are trying to say with the movie,” he adds.
One challenge that the team of Juni has, like many other smaller films, is about reaching the target audience. It is coming to theatres along with several others and may be dubbed as “OTT content” based on what has been seen in the trailer. “The hope is that audiences will not judge this ‘book’ by its cover. Juni is a lot more than what’s in the trailer. It’s a film that has to be watched at one stretch and, hence, a better fit for theatres,” Vaibhav signs off.