“Dharm” director Bhavna Talwar had a great time working with “Love Actually” star Bill Nighy on her first international project “Heidi- Queen of the Mountains”, which is based on the children’s classic of the same name.
“Bill was already attached to the project when it came to me and it has been such a pleasure to work with him. She is an incredible person. He is a great actor but he is even better as a human being.
“We had a mixed crew, both Indian and UK people, but he knew the name of each and every member right from the assistants to the light boys. And he treated everyone really well. Shooting this movie has been a lovely experience,” Bhavna told PTI.
The director’s husband Sheetal Talwar is producing the movie via his company Vistaar Entertainment in collaboration with Simon Wright of Big Tree.
She recently finished the UK schedule of the movie. The interior shots of the movie will be shot in India.
Besides Nighy, the movie also stars “Harry Potter” actor Mark Williams, Emilia Fox of “The Pianist” fame and Helen Baxendale among others.
The story of “Heidi” was a big part of Bhavna’s growing up years and she feels it was destiny that brought the film to her.
“Film’s writer Paul Watson and producer Simon had the story with them for three years and they wanted to get it funded. It came to us to finance the film and I loved the script. We were keen to produce the movie.
“Unfortunately, the director who was attached to do the film had to leave due to his wife’s illness. They asked me and since it was ‘Heidi’, which has been a big part of my childhood, I said yes.”
Heidi, written by Joanna Spyri’s, is a popular Swiss literary heroine and Bhavna is confident that the story will resonate in India due to its universal nature.
“If you follow the basis of any story, the thing that holds it together is emotion. Human emotion is universal and if you stay true to the emotion and follow what the story is trying to say then it will take you where it wants to be.”
The movie is slated to be a trilogy but Bhavna is not sure about helming the other two in the series despite producing all three.
“I am directing the first. I am focusing on this one for now as a director but we are producing all three.”
Interestingly, if not “Heidi”, Bhavna’s next project would have been on actor-filmmaker Guru Dutt. She will now take up the project after “Heidi”.
“Yes, it would have been my next project. I have written the script. Guru Dutt is a really difficult subject. All Indian filmmakers have this fascination for him. Every image that he created was so cinematic. I was sucked into his story.
“He had such a beautiful mind and what a sad end. You wonder how things could have been different. He thought he was unsuccessful only to get acclaim after his death. He is the classic tragic hero, who would not be fascinated by him.”