Ritesh Batra has come a long way since The Lunchbox. After the globally acclaimed film he has moved on to his next, a film starring two Hollywood legends Robert Redford and Jane Fonda which he is shooting for in Colorado, US.
Describing the film Ritesh in a conversation from Colarado says, “ It’s based on a novel called Our Souls At Night. It was American novelist Kent Haruf’s last novel before he passed away. It’s the story set in Colorado about two aging people who find happiness together. It’s a highly regarded novel.”
Ritesh is extremely happy to work with Redford and Fonda. “They are Wonderful! Extremely generous people. They are both wonderful and so eager and curious about their characters.”
Fonda and Redford play a couple re-discovering love in their twilight years.Not too many changes have been made in the screen adaptation, except for one character. Elaborates Ritesh: “The daughter’s character is more of a presence in my film.She’s just mentioned in the novel.I’ve to work towards fitting the novel into a new medium. I’ve to retain the soul of the novel.The novel and the film have to be like cousins, nice companions to one another.”
Ritesh has hardly been in India lately. “I was in London shooting another project The Sense Of An Ending , a screen adaptation of Julian Barnes’ novel featuring Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling for a year. Then I went back to Mumbai for three weeks. Now I am here in Colorado shooting for Our Souls At Night.”
Ritesh begs off feeling any lingering satisfaction for the global impact of The Lunchbox. “I am in a small town in Colorado.And people here have seen The Lunchbox! It’s very reassuring. here is a long way to go before I feel any sense of satisfaction. I never thought The Lunchbox would go so far. But when I had made it I knew it had a certain emotional resonance which would appeal to a wide audience.”
Ritesh feels Indian cinema needs more support from the Indian government. “Indian actors like Irrfan, Nawazuddin, Naseer, Priyanka, now Deepika are being recognized globally. But I think there’s a lot to be done. I think there has to be more support from the Indian government for both movies and sports.”
Ritesh is proud of what India has achieved in sports. “The Olympics just got over and we won a few medals. I think it’s truly commendable ,given the lack of resources.That’s fine. American actor Bruce Dern who is part of my film Our Souls At Night used to be an athlete. He was talking about how admirable it is for Indian athletes to make it in the Olympics. Similarly for films like The Lunchbox to travel so far is not easy.There is a lot more work to be done before we are recognised globally,” he says
Ritesh plans to make a film in India. “My next film is set in India.Right now I am here in Colorado shooting for Our Souls At Night.We complete all shooting by the end of the year,” he says.