If Dev D sparked Kalki Koechlin’s love for filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, That Girl in Yellow Boots can be looked as the celebration of their two-year courtship that culminated into marriage on April 2011.
What kind of film is That Girl in Yellow Boots?
It’s about a young girl and her journey through the underbellies of Bombay. It’s an uncomfortable subject. It’s not a film that will make you feel good about yourself, but one that I think is very relative to what life is like today in Mumbai.
You have co-written the script and play the protagonist, while your husband Anurag Kashyap directed it. So can we call it a home production?
Not just that. It’s quite a home production in the sense that lot of the actors are from theatres…people whom we have worked with. Even the music composer Naren Chandavarkar has done music for our plays earlier. So, a very close-knit group of people worked together in this film.
But tell us one thing…did writing the script come easy to you?
I was not confident as a writer. I had never written for a film…I only had experience of writing scripts for theatre. So it was a daunting experience.
Your character in the film requires you to smoke. How did you manage?
I used to smoke rolled tobacco many years ago. Now I have quit smoking. But Anurag still smokes. So I borrowed his rolled tobacco for the scene. But I had learnt to make cigarettes long back. I actually started rolling tobacco because I was trying to cut down cigarettes…you see, it takes time to roll…and successfully…now, as I said, I don’t smoke.
It’s a Hinglish (Hindi-English) film?
Every character speaks the language they speak normally. The idea was that the characters should speak their own language and try to communicate. And also, the idea is to make it very much real. I mean, if a foreign girl is coming to India, some people will try very hard to speak to her in English; there will be some who will only speak in Hindi or Marathi with an attitude ‘You better learn and speak my language’. So it’s about all kinds of people you get in a city like Mumbai.
That Girl in Yellow Boots is about a girl searching for her father. Similar concept film is Tell Me O Kkhuda. Are you ready for comparisons?
I don’t think there should be comparisons because the concepts of the two films are different. That Girl in Yello Boots is about a Britisher coming to India…the whole approach is different. Also, I believe that a film should stand on its own, not on comparisons with other films.
In the film, the foreigner faces stereotypes. Being born to French parents, did you face similar people?
During my early days, there were people who used to ask me ‘Do you like spicy food?’, ‘Do you like India?’, ‘Why aren’t you in Hollywood?’ …all those questions. But I think it’s normal. We see a lot of Hollywood, especially on TV. And when we see something like Baywatch, we think ‘Oh all white women may be like this!’
– Sreya Basu / Trans World Features (TWF)