Posted: 28 December 2004 at 10:26pm | IP Logged
Every film finds its audience. Raincoat will find its too
- Rituparno Ghosh
By IndiaFM News Bureau, December 22nd, 2004 - 1100 hrs IST Titli, Bariwali, Chokher Bali, nothing seems to prevent him from the showers of global praises, not even a Raincoat. Rituparno Ghosh has revived moviemaking that has a social subtext beautifully interwoven. His characters spell fine nuances, a forgotten art in Hindi filmdom.
The articulate director in conversation with IndiaFM takes us through his recent offering, Raincoat that stars the devastatingly beautiful Aishwarya Rai and the hugely talented Ajay Devgan. Ghosh dwells on the emotional interplay between his characters Niru and Mannu, picks on Aishwarya's artistic talents and tells us the kind of downpour that Raincoat will be?
'Raincoat' the title has an unconventional beat to it, how did you decide upon it?
Firstly, I need to own up to the fact that I am not too conversant with Hindi. I also did like to believe that the title 'Raincoat' adds a little intrigue value to the film, besides being extremely relevant to the film. And I am sure audiences will find a better connect between the two once they see the film.
What is the plot?
The film steps on the premise when 2 estranged lovers who meet one rainy afternoon. The emotional interplay between these two rooted characters is what carries the film forward. The intimate threads that the two share is what the narrative gives viewers.
Rain can be used as a tremendous metaphor, how have you used it to story tell?
Not just rain, I have used the 'monsoon season' as a whole as a narrative element. The 'Viraha' (period of separation) between lovers has finds an aching symbol in rain. Further, in our quest to get contemporary, we seem to forget our Indianness. And an element such as this helps reinstate just that.
First Chokher Bali and now Raincoat, Bhansali and you bring out the best in Rai. What would you say is Ash's USP as an actress?
I got interested in her as an actress after I saw Hum Dil De Chuke. Infact I like her better in her regional films like Iruvar and Kandukondain Kandukondain. Ash can juggle both, full-blown histrionics as well as going sedate on a performance. Raincoat will give you Ash in the most sublime avatar yet.
How did you decide upon her look?
There wasn't any bombastic brainstorming for the look. The script told us the look Neerja should have and we just went by that.
Was it tough to convince Ash to go de-glam role?
Not once. The moment she got the grasp of the character, that of a middle-class jaded woman, she voluntary did all that the role demanded. She put on some calories for that rounded look, kicked the pancake for some different strokes from the makeup brush.
Temperamentally, how is Ash to work with?
Ah, she's an absolute pleasure to work with. Ash is a very warm and well-meaning person. She likes to have her space like we all do. She has absolutely no airs of herself. There were times when we had strenuous outdoor shoots; at times she had to walk barefoot, squat on bare ground. Ash did all of that without cringing.
How did she adapt to the foreign language and setting?
Must say, pretty well. During Chokher Bali, it was an alien language, with new people and a foreign culture for her. But she picked up very fast and gelled very well. Now during our shoot for Raincoat, it was like more like coming back home.
Ajay tells us that his character of Manoj is among the few that took some time to precipitate. What are the nuances of the character that make the role special?
He plays a loser in every sense of the term. Manoj is a defeatist. For an actor to understand this and emote with that degree of restraint is commendable. He completely surrendered himself to the role. Ajay was fabulous to say the least. Also, it was him who suggested that we stick with the title, Raincoat.
What is it about Ajay that makes him among the finest actor India has seen?
He can 'hold back' in the most wonderful manner. After Hum Dil De Chuke where he went stoic, Ajay delivers among the finest performances in Raincoat. The film will see him in the most understated manner.
Can you fill us on the supporting cast?
There is Sammeer Dharmadhikari who plays Alok, Manoj's friend. Mouli Gnaguly, his wife. Annu Kapoor chips in with a cameo. He has come in with such a beautiful performance. Annu is among the most underrated actors we have. Besides, there is Surekha Sikri who plays Manoj's mother.
What is the kind of detailing that has gone into getting the art d"r?
The art d"r and detailing is narrative driven. The performances are the engine of the script that keeps it going. So the texture, hue, colors all have been dictated by the script. And like I mentioned, since the focal point is the emotional interplay, the art is such that it is present yet doesn't intrude into the scene.
How has the music been interwoven into your script?
Music as I see it is an extension of the script. Raincoat also has a special poem recited by Gulzarbhai in his own inimitable style.
The last time that you liked a piece of music
I loved Morning Raga. I am sure Swades and Black have some soulful tunes too but haven't heard them as yet.
One element of filmmaking that fascinates you best
I love the process in totality. No particular segment that I soak in.
Be it SRK's son Aryan's fabricated remark at you, or the alleged spat between you and Sanjay Bhansali, there's always been loose talk. How do you deal with it?
As for the SRK incident, it is an utter lie! I hope media stops cooking such unpleasant stories. Ditto with Sanjay with whom I share a great rapport. Contrary to what was written, we had no squabble. Since I am away in Kolkatta for a good period of my time, these rumors don't really matter. But I sincerely wish they stop bringing out sensational copy at the cost of people.
Trade-gurus are fast to label films as multiplex films, single screen runs, small center movies. What kind of film do you see Raincoat as?
Every film finds its audiences. Raincoat will find it's too. All I did like to say is that be prepared for an intimate interplay of emotions with a charming gift towards the climax.