By Subhash K. Jha
MUMBAI: Nandita Das and her husband Subodh are starring in Spanish film titled Traces Of Sandalwood. She shares details with Subhash K Jha:
Q: You have finally agreed to do another film. How did this project come about? And what made you agree to do it?
A: Anna Soler-Pont contacted a common acquaintance in Los Angeles, and then sent me the script. When I read it, I have to say it didn’t blow my mind, although there was honesty in the story telling. Then when I met Anna, who is the scriptwriter and the producer, I was quite taken in by her passion and commitment. At times it is these intangible reasons why I end up taking a project. I met Anna for the first time inMumbai in March 2012 and it is only after interacting with her I felt something special might come out of the way the story will be told. Often it is about how a story is told and not just the story itself. She now has an all women crew, as in all heads of departments are women! And the ones I have met are truly amazing- passionate, committed, talented and strong!
Q: Is your husband Subodh playing the lead opposite you? And would both of you be talking in Spanish in the film?
A: Yes! I am playing a Bollywood actress and Subodh is playing my husband, a film producer! I did warn Anna that someone who is not in her 20s and is not fair has very dim chances of playing a Bollywood actress! Anyhow, Mina is more than just that, and actually quite an interesting character, who has her past in a village as a poor girl, who was separated from her little sister. The film is really a story of that search. The protagonists are the two sisters.
Q: What about you son’s schedules? How would you ensure they are not affected when you are shooting?
A: While my son now has a hectic schedule of going to a pre-nursery, we and the school think there is no better learning than experiencing new places and people! In any case I always take him where I go, so he is also coming with us to Barcelona for the shoot. He still remembers ‘Hola and Que- tal from his last trip there! We are taking his nanny and the team has also ensured that Vihaan will be well taken care of. He will see his parents work and that is a good thing!
Q: Where will this film be shot and how much of your time would it require?
A: The film will be shot between Barcelona and Mumbai. Among the locations in Barcelona are the Gaudí architectonical treasures such as La Pedrera house and the Park Güell, the Biomedical Research Institute, the downtown Ramblas, the cricket local teams and the beach.Among the locations in Mumbai are the Cinema Eros,Colaba and Bandra neighborhoods and the beach in Madh Island. The shooting will be start beginning of November, first in Barcelona and , with of course a gap, then in December in Mumbai. My work is approx. for about 15 days.
Q: You were also planning to direct a film.What progress on that?
A: Not much! Wearing too many hats makes it difficult to dive into something fully. But I hope to do it soon. In fact it is going to be my new year resolution!
Q: Your play also has the potential of being converted into a film. Would you consider that transition?
A: Many have said that, including a couple of film directors and producers who have seen it. One, Subodh is already working on something that he calls Cineplay, which is to shoot theatre in a digital format to make it accessible to a larger number of people. So we have already shot the play. Second, I think I have expressed what I had to, about this subject in the play, and now want to explore another aspect of life through cinema. But to be honest, between Vihaan and my advocacy work on various social issues, I don’t get a good chunk of time for creative pursuits. But slowly, with this Spanish film, which is the longest I will be shooting since Vihaan was born.