The director is making a cross-over film
Director Sai Kabir, who directed Kangana Ranaut in Revolver Rani, says his new film starring her — the French production Divine Lovers— is very much different from his last movie.
In an interview, he has spoken about getting the French Film Commission (FFC) on board for the film, its content and its actors.
How did the French Film Commission (FFC) come into your Kangana-Irrfan starrer Divine Lovers?
When I finished writing the script for Divine Lovers, I thought it had the potential to cross over. I showed the script to French producer Leonard Glowinski. Now Divine Lovers is certified as a French production. When it releases in France, it would be released as a French film.
Would it be dubbed in French?
No, it would be subtitled in French. The FFC is okay with subtitles. Everything, including post-production, will be done in France. Even the crew and the music composer would be from France. But the film will be shot entirely in India… In Bhopal and Mumbai.
Isn’t that rather contradictory. Technically, a French film and yet not shot in France?
That is because the French like to patronize good cinema. They’re interested in an authentic Indian film. The whole idea is to do a completely Indian film. Film audiences in France are open to all kinds of foreign stories. For them realism is important.
Would you be looking anxiously over your shoulder at the French market while you make Divine Lovers?
No. I’ll just make the film I want to. Because that’s what the French want. My Revolver Rani was a homage to the mainstream Bollywood cinema of the 1980s. Divine Lovers would be far more straightforward. It’s not bizarre or ironical. In that sense, it is the opposite of Revolver Rani. It’s my homage to Sayajit Ray’s Mahanagar.
Irrfan has an international appeal. Would that help your film?
Oh, absolutely. Until I came to Paris, I didn’t realize how popular he was outside India. The Lunchbox is the most successful Indian film abroad. The regular French, German and other European audiences know about him. I am so happy to have him in my film. We start shooting early next year.
Hopefully your Divine Lovers would repeat the global success of The Lunchbox?
I hope so. I had a screening of Revolver Rani in New York. The most prestigious film school, the School of Visual Arts, has invited me to do a workshop in November.