‘UNindian offers cultural colours having a global structure and appeal’

‘UNindian offers cultural colours having a   global structure and appeal’
Photo courtesy: Kate Ryan and Simon Cardwell
Photo courtesy: Kate Ryan and Simon Cardwell

2UNidian, the much awaited Australian film which is slated to hit theatres on

October 15 is a special one in many sense. It celebrates multi-diversity in the

Australian soil. It pays homage to the Indian Diaspora that has embraced the

Australian sub-continent. It cherishes the beautiful relationship between Meera

played by Tannishtha Chatterjee and Will played by Brett Lee and a lot more.

Last month Anupam Sharma, the director of UNindian joined our team and gave us

some insight of UNindian. This month we are joined by Brett Lee and Tannishtha

Chatterjee the lead actors of UNindian for a conversation. Excerpts from the

interview:

Indus Age to Brett : What was it that you decided to do UNindian?

Brett: I just saw it as a wonderful opportunity and when you get the chance to star

in a feature film and to play lead role, I thought I’ve got to grasp this with two

hands. And I didn’t want to get to the age of 50 and think, “What if I did that?” or

“I wish I did that” or “I should’ve done that”. I don’t live my life like that. I live

my life saying, “I will give it a go”, as long as it’s the right thing to do. And, to be

honest, I’d been given a few Bollywood scripts over the last 10 or 15 years, but it

wasn’t the right script or it wasn’t the right time. So UNindian came about at the

right time, right place, I was in the right frame of mind, and I thought, “I’ve got to

give this a go”. And it’s been the best journey ever.

Indus Age to Brett : Everybody’s been talking about how prepared you are as

an actor and the commitment that you have for doing the task. How

important was that to you?

Brett: I think that when you talk about being in a film or being on the sports field,

they’re pretty similar – the commitment, the dedication, the hard work, you’re

playing a partnership and you have to work with a team.

Indus Age to Tannishtha: As a global industry, how important is it that we

should be making films for an international audience, such as UNindian?

Tannishtha: I think we can’t make a film for an audience. We make a film about

a story or about something that we want to share and tell. Tell the story that you

want to tell and in the a that you want to. And what I find very unique about

UNindian, is Anupam’s vision.

He’s of Indian origin but he’s lived in Australia for many years. He’s worked in

Bollywood a lot, so obviously he has a lot of influences from the visual images and

the kind of language that Bollywood has, and yet he is very Australian. That’s a

very unique identity and he’s not trying to say, “I wanna to make something for

this audience or that audience”, he’s just trying to make something that inspires

him and influences him, which is really interesting and that’s why it’ll be

something new.

Indus Age to Brett: You shared screen with one of India’s most internationally

acclaimed actresses, Tannishtha Chatterjee. What was it like working with

her and what did she offer you as your co-lead?

Brett: Working with Tannishtha or Tan as we know her, she’s just an absolute

legend. You will not meet a more genuine person than Tan and she’s such a

fantastic actress. When preparing for the film, I watched many of the movies so I

knew how fantastic an actress she is. And then we spent 14 hours a day together

over six or seven weeks – so we got to know each other very, very well, and we

built up a great friendship and trust over those seven weeks.

She is an absolutely beautiful person, she’s a great actress, and I think when you do

trust someone and when someone’s more experienced in that field than you, I was

trying to be like a sponge, I was trying to learn off her as much as I could. And she

was brilliant.

Indus Age to Tannishtha: Brett Lee, the actor and you get to be opposite him

in his first feature film. What’s it like working with Brett Lee on set?

Tannishtha: It is fabulous. I mean, he’s really, really famous in India because

cricket is really huge, but having known him as a person is something that I’m

really enjoying. He’s a beautiful person and that’s what comes across on screen.

He’s very, very funny and Will’s character is someone who has that charm and that

fun and I think he’s brought that out really well.

Indus Age to Brett: Anupam Sharma, this was his first feature film as a

director. He’s been involved as a commercials’ director, as a producer of

hundreds of productions in Australia. What was Anupam’s advice to you?

What did he give to you as a director?

Brett: I’ve had the pleasure to work with Anu over the last probably 10 or 12

years; we have made commercials together and I had a small cameo role – just a

few hours on set – on a film Anupam was involved with. So, going into this film,

the trust was there straightaway. Anyone who’s worked with Anu knows that he’s

the most trustworthy guy that you’ll ever meet. He’s got a heart of gold. He wears

his heart on his sleeve. The way he’s so passionate about his work.

When you’ve got someone who is passionate about their job and who wants to get

out of bed every single morning and turn up to work and try and make this

particular film the best that it can, you’re on a good path. I think that I’ve always

tried to associate myself with positive people in my life. I want to be associated

with good people and he’s one of those good people.

Indus Age to Tannishtha: What was it about this project that made you want

to be involved?

Tannishtha: What really kicked in when I read the script for the first time is that

yes, it’s a beautiful rom-com which flows really well, but it’s the woman’s

character which is so modern and contemporary and independent. The screenplay

breaks a lot of clichés that we sometimes see as men and women or Indian or non-

Indian. All those clichés it breaks in a very funny way. That’s what I really liked

about the screenplay.

Indus Age to Tannishtha: What is it like working with a visionary like

Anupam Sharma?

Tannishtha: What I really like about Anupam is, he thinks out of the box and that

is why I think his vision is a little different from a lot of people. In this story he is

telling a very contemporary story which is very global. It has the cultural colours

that Indian films have and Bollywood has, but it has a very global story structure

which an international audience can relate to.

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