Director Imtiaz Ali is collaborating with Japan’s entertainment conglomerate Shochiku to produce a cross-culture romance in Hindi, titled Love In Tokyo. The project borrows its title from the 1966 Bollywood hit of the same name but is not a remake of the Asha Parekh, Joy Mukherjee-starrer.
It will be shot almost entirely in Japan and will be co-produced by Imtiaz’s Window Seat Films and Shochiku with the director’s brother Arif Ali at the helm. Imtiaz, who featured the country briefly in his last release “Tamasha”, says he is looking forward to exploring “fascinating” Japan and its culture through this movie.
“I visited Japan when I was shooting for ‘Tamasha’ and I remember both Ranbir (Kapoor) and Deepika (Padukone) were keen to visit the country. Shochiku were our line producers there and I later found out that they are the largest and most prolific media house in Japan,” Imtiaz told PTI.
The director says the idea for the joint collaboration came up during a conversation with Shochiku’s CEO, Jay
“We talked about how there are so many things that are common between people living in various cities of Asia. We discussed if it was possible to make a movie which tells you about people from different places and can also translate to the audience at different places.
“Can we bridge the gap and not make the movie for one country or one region? Can it be more universal both in content and execution?”
The filmmaker says Arif was always his first choice to direct the movie.
“I collaborated with Arif and developed the story. The story originated from me and Arif developed it further… I am involved even as we are writing the story.
“I have seen Arif’s work in theatre and his writing for television. The movie (Lekar Hum Deewana Dil) that he directed did not do well but the industry gives you many chances if the movie is good. His film was good but it could not reach out to the audience. He was always my choice to make this film.”
Imtiaz says the suggestion for the title came from Shochiku and he found it apt for what the movie is trying to convey.
“After I came back from the shoot, Sochiku approached me back, saying they had got all the rights of the movie ‘Love in Tokyo’ which they found was a big hit. They said ‘we would like to make another movie’, which you can call ‘Love in Tokyo’ But I did not want to remake the original, just retain the title and they agreed.”
Imtiaz says they are planning to begin shooting the movie this year around “summer and autumn”.
“Summer and autumn are a good time there. So, that’s what we are aiming for. The actors, cast and crew will be divided between India and Japan.”
Mitsuhito Hosoda, the Deputy CEO of Shochiku, says they are looking forward to working closely with Hindi cinema with this new venture.
“At Shochiku, we have quite a few first-time efforts to our credit that have changed the map of cinema in Japan. We produced the first ever color motion picture in our country and have bridged enduring tradition with modern tastes by retaining an interest in Kabuki theatre.
“In joining hands with Window Seat Films, we have begun yet another first time effort- of working closely with popular Hindi cinema. We view this as a huge opportunity and hope to lay the foundation for creative, quality films with this venture.”