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‘Not a typical Yash Chopra romance’

| | in Sunday Pioneer
‘Not a typical Yash Chopra romance’

SUDHANSHU SARIA director of Loev which won the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the Tel Aviv International Film Festival, tells SHALINI SAKSENA that it was a script many producers would give money for

 Why spelt as L.O.E.V and not L.O.V.E?

College goers would be able to identify with this word. When a boy falls in love, his friends tease him and say — ‘Isko lauv ho gya hai’. Abroad, it was a little difficult to explain. I told them that it is not Looev or Luev. I know it looks different but it is love. To me, that was the best representation of an idea when you see two people who don’t fit your clichéd description of what love is all about — The Yash Chopra kind of love.

 You wrote the script alongside another one...

I think I wrote this more as a revenge script. I met this company Bombay Berlin Film Productions led by Arfi Lamba and Katharina Suckale. They said the proposition was expensive and asked me to come up with a story based on a budget. By then I was getting used to the Bombay industry — they say it but don’t mean it. But I went back and wrote this story and two months later, I went to their office and said ‘what’s up’. They loved the story and we partnered on it. I would not have written it if they had not given me that push.

 So Bollywood is not open to certain kind of films ...

Not just Bollywood. This problem is all over the world. I grew up watching Yash Chopra and Karan Johar movies. But spent the last 12 years in the US understanding the film industry as a producer, filmmaker, financier and distributor and understood the dhanda. At the end, it is like selling a shoe —jitne mein bekti hai usse kam mein bana, to sustain the business. I hope that after watching the movie, 10 other writers will think that they can make a movie like this.

Has the audience matured enough to watch a movie about two men in love?

Definitely! If you are talking about a pan India audience, we still have a long way to go. But our audience is huge. Our directors have, over the years, matured them. There are so many platforms today — like Netflix where there is a demand for such films. As long as one makes a movie that is sensible, there is a market for it. It is time that we started capturing a narrow audience rather than making every single movie for the masses.

 Who is your target audience?

When I was narrating the story, Suckale warned me that the women may not be able to identify with the film since there is no woman here. But to our surprise, women were champions of the movie. Though the story is about two men, at the end of the day it is a love story. Probably, the audience will be from urban cities, they probably watch a lot of English programmes, love stories and be a little liberal.

 Did you have a problem in casting?

I thought I would. My friend, whom I approached for casting, told me that the script is great and there would be people who love to be a part of the film. We ended up with 200 people. But narrated it to four people and three are part of the movie.

 Your movie released internationally in 2015 but only releasing now in India. Why?

I don’t know how the system worked in Bollywood but depended on my partners and friends for advice. They told me that a film like this needed a White stamp of approval. It was a  bit weird but went with what I was told and the movie had its world premiere at the 2015 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. From there, the film went on an international circuit and was appreciated. The India premier was held in 2016 and since then, we were in talks with distributors for release in India.




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