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Aparna Sen's hands are full
IANS
Mumbai, March 24, 2007
First Published: 17:29 IST(24/3/2007)
Last Updated: 17:36 IST(24/3/2007)

Bengali actor-filmmaker Aparna Sen is working on a multi-lingual film titled The Japanese Wife, based on a story by Indo-Anglian author Kunal Basu.

"The Japanese Wife is Kunal Basu's unpublished story. But I think Harper Collins will publish the story soon. I fell in love with the story and since the author admires my work, he agreed to let me film it," Sen told IANS.

The film stars Rahul Bose, Raima Sen and Moushumi Chatterjee, and Japanese actress Chigasu Takaku, in the title role. It is in English, Bengali and Japanese.

Excerpts from the interview:

You're constantly travelling among three cities Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. And now you're making a film that encompasses three languages?Yes, The Japanese Wife is in three languages. Now, I'm holding a workshop with my actors for the film. We start shooting end of March and finish in June. We want to shoot in Japan when the cherry blossom season starts.

Sounds very interesting.
For the first time I'm filming someone else's story. He's an English-language author Kunal Basu, who writes from Oxford. The Japanese Wife is his unpublished story. But I think Harper Collins will publish the story soon. I fell in love with the story and since the author admires my work, he agreed to let me film it. I can praise it since I haven't written it.

It's a haunting and improbable love story about a schoolteacher in Sundarbans, who becomes pen pals with an equally shy Japanese girl. Their letters to each other are endearingly wonky since they both speak and write an imperfect English.

Your most romantic film to date and Rahul's most romantic film ever.
Yes, Rahul is so wonderfully attached to the project. After two earlier films, we share a very comfortable relationship. It's so difficult to make other actors in Mumbai believe in workshops and rehearsals. A multi-lingual project such as this requires actors who believe and surrender completely. Rahul fits the bill. We've a Japanese actress Chigasu Takaku playing the title role.

And I'm working with Moushumi Chatterjee for the first time as a director. We've done a couple of Bengali films together as co-stars. She's brilliant. See, The Japanese Wife is also funny. And Moushumi is a natural at humour. She has wonderful comic timing. Even my daughter Konkona (Sen Sharma) is wonderful at comedy.

It's amazing how Konkona has evolved as an actor.
Konkona has a rare gift as an actor. She doesn't let success go to her head. Acting is a lot of fun for her. She's doing everything right, going to the gym religiously even when she's too lazy to do so.

Do you know she almost had to give up Omkara? She fell ill. She had this fever that just went on for months. We were so worried. It was just terrible. I asked Vishal Bharadwaj if he wanted to have another actress on stand-by. He refused. As a fellow filmmaker I knew that was impractical. But Vishal insisted.

Would you allow Raima and Rahul to dub in Hindi?
Definitely. But in the original version if they can't get the Bengali accent right, I'll have to dub their voices. Ironically, Rahul, who speaks wonderful English, has to speak disastrous English in The Japanese Wife. I've written some really funny-sounding lines for Rahul.


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