Aparna Sen’s The Japanese Wife that opened last Friday, was in the making for a long time. Sen waited for spring so she could capture the cherry blossoms in full bloom. She tried to wrap the film up during the summer months when the mercury was shooting up, but was hindered by her cast falling ill, one by one, and the fact that a kite sequence could be shot only during the rains. “So, we waited for the monsoons too,” she smiles.
After it was edited, the film was screened for the team and the unanimous opinion was that this was “world cinema and needed to be cut accordingly”. So, Sen went back to the editing room. Not too long.She explains, “This kind of cinema cannot be too long, so I had to trim it down. There was no question of going with two versions, one for India and one for screenings abroad, because unlike a Bollywood film, The Japanese Wife didn’t have any songs and dances to snip out. Whatever changes had to be made, had to be done at the story level.”
The film is in English and strewn with Bengali words. The National Award winning director admits that her audience is niche and limited. “But I’m sure since I’m saying something really nice, they will listen to me,” she says optimistically.Quiz her on the future of Bengali and world cinema and she says that there is a need to tap more global audiences for the latter and for Bangla films, and find an export route to Bangladesh where there is a large and ready audience hungry for good content.