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Naseeruddin Shah Generous With His Teachings, Notes: The Hungry Director Bornila Chatterjee

On being asked why she didn't opt for a more famous work from Shakespeare's writings, she explained that because it's not known that much, she had the liberty to play with the original text as much.

Kriti Tulsiani | News18.com@sleepingpsyche2

Updated:November 5, 2017, 4:18 PM IST
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Naseeruddin Shah Generous With His Teachings, Notes: The Hungry Director Bornila Chatterjee
A still from The Hungry.
Bornila Chatterjee Hungry brings to celluloid a modern-day adaptation of William Shakespeare's lesser-known play Titus Andronicus.. Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Tisca Chopra and Sayani Gupta in key roles, the film was screened at the ongoing Dharamshala International Film Festival and managed to impress the delegates and viewers alike.

In an interaction with News18.com, the director shared that she had her mind set on both Shah and Chopra for the respective roles of Tulsi and Tathagata.

"They were totally my first choice. I cannot imagine anybody but Naseer sir playing the role. And what attracts me the most in Tisca, ever since I saw her in other films, is that ṭhere's a certain quality in her voice - a certain softness to her. You want to know what's going on behind her eyes," she said on the sidelines of the four-day festival.

While one would expect a young filmmaker to be intimidated in the presence of the likes of Shah, Bornila said that the whole experience turned out to be a wonderful learning experience for the entire cast and crew.



"He's such a beautiful collaborator. More than that, on one hand, you're working as equals but Naseer sir being Naseer sir- there's so much to learn from him."

"He's so generous with his advice, his notes, his teachings. He's somebody who teaches by doing- he'll not sit you down and be like do this, do that, but the whole experience of collaborating with him was very much a learning experience not just for me but for the entire cast and crew," she explained.

She added that the energy Shah brought on sets actually pumped up the team. "He really sorts of approached the project -because we were a small film with a very small budget and he approached it with such energy - that sort of rubbed on everyone and made the whole process of creating this. The time all of us spent together is truly special."

On being asked why she didn't opt for a more famous work from Shakespeare's writings, she explained that because it's not known that much, she had the liberty to play with the original text as much.

"Because it's not known, so that sort of gave us the kind of courage to even tackle it. If you think about it, I feel the texts like Tempest or Mid Summer are so sacred. Everyone is so familiar with it so no one wants to mess up aṛound it too much."

"But because Titus was one of the first things he wrote, there's this sort of rawness to it which at once is very exciting and also malleable," she added.

Image: Youtube/ A still from the trailer of The Hungry

She further said that their film is actually a huge departure from the original text. "I'd like to think that we've held on to the essence of it but we've really played around with the plot, characters, and stuff."

Bornila added that while the play is grim, the themes at play- family power, loyalty and the cycle of revenge is something the makers felt very strongly for and that in a strange way kind of reflects the times we're living in.

The filmmaker also expressed her satisfaction over the fact that both- men and women- are now seen pulling off characters they've never done before. "What really excites me about cinema today is that a lot of people - meṅ and women- are telling those stories that aren't getting told. And that's so interesting to me - to see those characters in ways that we've never seen before."

"Especially films where women are really like whole characters, they are not playing the second fiddle to their male counterparts," she added.

Held in the foothills of Himalayas, the festival is all set to conclude on Sunday with Rima Das' Village Rockstars.

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| Edited by: Sameeksha
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