Easier to get film financed when India involved: English filmmaker

Mumbai, April 17 (Calcutta Tube) When ‘successful country’ India is an aspect of a film it is easier to get finances for that project, revealed English filmmaker Michael Winterbottom who shot his first film set in India, named ‘Trishna’, in Rajasthan and Mumbai .

‘Trishna’, starring Freida Pinto and British rapper Riz Ahmed, is Winterbottom’s first film set totally in India. He has shot in Rajasthan before for a few scenes for other films like ‘Code 46’ and ‘A Mighty Heart’.

‘When one is raising money for a film it’s helpful if you indicate that India is a part of it, somewhere or the other,’ Winterbottom told IANS in an interview.

‘This is because India is a successful country, it’s a booming country. So, when you talk for finances, you get it,’ he said.

‘A lot of people have seen Indian films and also international films set in India; so everyone knows that it’s an exciting place, big, new booming economy, so those aspects make it easy to raise money for the film,’ he added.

‘Trishna’ is an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’. It is being co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga and Sunil Bohra.

‘The idea of this film came about eight years ago when I was filming in Rajasthan for something else. I thought Rajasthan would be a nice place to shoot a film on ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’,’ said the 50-year-old director.

‘At that time we wanted to make it but because of a few things couldn’t make it and then last year I spoke to Riz and Freida for the main roles. They said yes, so we decided to make it,’ he said.

‘This is the first film that I have made which is totally set in India; so it was a lot more enjoyable making this one,’ Winterbottom said.

‘In the case of the other ones neither was set in India, just a few scenes shot here. One was set in Pakistan and the other was a sci fi film. So that’s why I came back,’ he added.

The film is a tragic love story of a rich boy who comes to India from England to spend some time here and also look after his father’s hotel business in the country when he meets Freida’s character and falls in love.

Although the film has a story quite similar to that of a Bollywood potboiler, the filmmaker did not make a conscious effort to take inspirations from a Hindi film.

‘The shape of the story is not very different from the mainstream love stories today, but we are not consciously making it to feel like a Bollywood film or look like a Bollywood film, just because it is set in India,’ he said.

And since he is so fascinated about India and the industry here, any plans of making a film with a Bollywood actor in the future?

‘Of course, why not? But it’s just that you first get an idea to make a film and then you make it and if a particular actor suits it, then you rope in that actor,’ Winterbottom said.

‘But it’s not that you think ‘ let’s find a way of working with a Bollywood actor’ and then look for a story for him. If I get a story where a Bollywood actor would be needed, I’ll definitely go for it,’ he added.

The shooting of the film is over now and it is slated to officially release next year after making rounds of various film festivals around the globe.

(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at ruchika.k@ians.in)

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