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Elahe Hiptoola — the Multifaceted Personality

Elahe Hiptoola  was our first guest speaker for the Rotary year 2019-20 and spoke  at the RHF on 15th July. A lawyer by profession and a film director/ producer, currently with more than 15 well acclaimed movies to her credit, she has dabbled with fashion designing and runs a popular store “elahe” in Hyderabad.

She was introduced by Rtn. Anil Srivatsa who mentioned that he had only recently got to know her  and she was instrumental in increasing awareness to his campaign on organ donation on instagram and facebook. Though he had not seen any of her films, he had thoroughly enjoyed watching her latest tele serial ” City of Dreams” on Hot Star.

Elahe spoke on her journey as a filmmaker with anecdotes from various aspects like fundraising for movie productions. She initially  thought it was going to be easy, but after the first movie that she and Nagesh Kukunoor  made titled “Hyderabad Blues”, she realised it was not going to be so. Though the movie was a big box office success, she was in for quite a shock when she found that movie production houses and financiers were very tight fisted and selling her story to find financing was not always easy. She mentioned how “Iqbal” was made into a cricketing story from the original   “malkhamb”  which is a relatively unknown village sport.   Iqbal went on to become a popular movie and a box office success.

Dealing with actors, many of whom are huge stars as well as with child actors and their needs and eccentricities was another ball game altogether. She regaled the audience with some unpleasant and some  humorous episodes.

Being a strong advocate of women’s rights and empowerment she mentioned that many a times scripts she was working on were modified to give more meaning and respect to women characters. She said her movies always tried to portray real life situations without exaggerating characters, sexual or religious situations. 

She gave an insight on film making with many humorous episodes speaking eloquently, both in English and Hyderabadi Urdu, which the audience enjoyed immensely.  She mentioned highlights from her career wherein her movie ‘Lakshmi’ was screened for President Obama at the White House. She also spoke about her movie ‘Dhanak’ which won the national award for the best children’s movie. 

Following her talk there was a quick interview wherein Rtn. Dr. Mustali Vagh got her speaking on her pet project in Hyderabad called “la makaan”  which is an old bungalow converted into a very popular cultural space with a reasonably priced popular canteen, serving  Hyderabadi specialities. 

She also elaborated on how the Lakshmi Foundation, run by her has been helping to rehabilitate women driven into sex trade.

The interview ended with Dr.Vagh mentioning how the famous artist M.F. Hussain was so overwhelmed and impressed with the movie “Iqbal”, that he did a whole series of paintings based on the movie and gifted some of the paintings to Elahe.

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