Independent filmmaker Bornila Chatterjee has helmed a number of projects, be it a short film or a feature film, but when it came to convincing veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah to act for her in Indie feature The Hungry, it wasn’t very easy.
The 100 minute film relocates William Shakespeare’s work Titus Andronicus to modern day India, where corruption, greed and revenge run amok at an extravagant wedding. In the adaptation, villain Tamora transforms into Tulsi (essayed by Tisca Chopra) and Titus transforms into Titus (essayed by Naseeruddin).
“With him it was interesting when it comes to convincing, because when he first met us he said, ‘I think Titus is the worst thing Shakespeare ever wrote, why the hell do you want to make this. And we thought ‘oh okay maybe this meeting is not going to go very well’,” Chatterjee told IANS on the sidelines of the sixth edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival.
“When we went to his house, he was literally just siting there having just finished reading the play. So we talked a bit about it and he asked similar questions like ‘why now, why this, and we said that ‘it was great to meet you and we are leaving this script if you can then please do read it’. He texted after a few hours that he ‘loved the script and let’s make it happen’.
“With everyone, there is always a bit of convincing which is required but it is all a part of the process, ” she added.
Why did she choose a story by Shakespeare which was so gory?
“For starters, the film came about as in 2015 in London, they were celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare. They basically decided that they are going to fund one Indian adaptation of a Shakespeare play because India shows tremendous interest in adaptations of Shakespeare plays. They wanted to fund one Independent micro budget film…That is how The Hungry happened,” added Chatterjee who has helmed projects like White Lillies and The Sun is Shining.
She also believes that the film and the context is pretty much relevant with the atmosphere today. “This one really felt like something really very relevant. It’s not something much about the violence as much as it is this face off between the families where you have a patriarch vs a matriarch,” said Chatterjee.
The four-day Dharmashala International Film Festival 2017 ends on Sunday.