The director tries to give a Shakespearean twist to a desi tale
Issaq is director Manish Tiwary’s version of Shakespeare’s tragic drama Romeo And Juliet and he says he wanted to give it a unique twist thus he thought about having more antagonists to oppose the two lovers in his film. “One of the initial twists to my film was to attempt something, which I can give a unique angle to. This happened at the scripting level. We started adapting that angle on love,” Tiwary said in an interview.
In Issaq, Prateik and Amyra Dastur play the two tragic lovers, but the entire focus is not just on them. “To make it novel, you have to start from the basics – how you treat the meaning of love and the treatment of the surrounding cast. We realised that the film needed more antagonists to oppose the love, which the lovers have,” he said. The filmmaker has set this tragic love story in Benaras, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and has valid reasons for doing so.
“You cannot make Romeo and Juliet in a contemporary context in Europe anymore… where the feudal system has been destroyed, but if I go to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, it still exists. We found this in Benaras. You keep finding a context where your story can be set in a youthful character,” said the director who earlier made Dil Dosti Etc and is currently scripting his gangster movie Mohabbat Miyan.
Talking about the cast, Tiwary said: “Prateik drew my attention from his first film Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na and Dhobi Ghat I approached him and then I had to wait for a couple of films, which he had signed, to complete. He has a presence on screen,” he said. “Amyra was a long search. When I saw Amyra, a Parsi girl, she was still in school and could not speak Hindi properly, but there was something about her. It was more of a director’s instinct. She had this head-strong character, which Bachi (the character) needed,” he said.
The audience approval and critic ratings are equally important for Tiwary. “One cannot forget that we are in a medium seen by all. Like many others and most of the directors, I also look for an audience, which likes my film. I don’t see a divide here – critics are a part of the film’s audience… one hopes that critics and audiences like the film. I will be happy if it is seen widely and discussed,” he said.