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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Adajania: Birth of a new sensibility

Saibal Chatterjee traces Adajania's second venture, which will be far removed from Being Cyrus as much in spirit as in substance. Being Cyrus special

india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 19:13 IST
WIDE ANGLE | Saibal Chatterjee
WIDE ANGLE | Saibal Chatterjee

Homi Adajania, the maker of one of the most exciting debut films to come out of Mumbai in recent years, isn’t quite resting on his oars even as the critically applauded Being Cyrus continues to conquer new frontiers for English-language Indian cinema.

The young filmmaker is readying himself for his second shot at glory. He has won himself a substantial enough fan following to ensure that every move that he makes from now on is squarely under the spotlight.

Adajania’s next film, based on an unfinished novel that he worked on for three months prior to the making of Being Cyrus, is close to fruition. “The script is done and I have a producer in place,” he says. “But I am not entirely happy with the current shape of the screenplay. It needs a little rework.”

Set in a Catholic village in pre-1960s Goa, Adajania’s second venture will be far removed from Being Cyrus as much in spirit as in substance. “It is a lyrical tale about the importance of memories in the lives of people,” he says. “The film,” he adds, “will be a love story set in a period when technology hadn’t taken over our lives. People communicated primarily through letters.”

Adajania admits that he could have located the story in a Parsi village in Gujarat. “I have refrained from doing that because I do not want to be branded a Parsi filmmaker. I am a filmmaker. Period.”

Made on a budget of 1.9 crore, Being Cyrus has mopped a cool Rs 7 crore from the box office.

Yet another project that is on his anvil will take Adajania further away both in terms of time and location. “The film will be set in 1908 in East Bengal and will present a fictionalised account of a real-life story,” he reveals.

Here again, the screenplay, titled Resurrection, is ready. “I am taking my time because this film demands a large canvas. I want to be sure that I am ready to make it.” This period drama revolves around the intriguing case of the Bhawal sanyasi, the scion of a wealthy zamindar family who was presumed dead by his family. “What really happened to him is a mystery,” says Adajania. “The film seeks to piece together that story.” 

Of course, for a filmmaker who has made his mark with his very first film, gathering the confidence to push ahead isn’t a problem. “When I made Being Cyrus I knew it would receive critical appreciation – I am not using the word acclaim – from a section of filmgoers, but its commercial success has come as huge surprise,” Adajania says.

Made on a budget of 1.9 crore, Being Cyrus has mopped a cool Rs 7 crore from the box office.

By his own admission, Adajania, scuba diving instructor, one-time rugby player and voracious reader, has never been a movie buff. That perhaps explains why Being Cyrus, shot through with large doses of macabre humour and an unfailing feel for human quirks, is unlike anything filmgoers in India have encountered before.

Adajania admits to being influenced by Albert Camus’ The Outsider. “Cyrus is the quintessential outsider. Nobody has a clue who he is and where he has come from,” he says.

Camus’ Meursault and Adajania’s Cyrus might in essence be creatures from different planets, but the very fact that a Mumbai filmmaker has actually dared to draw inspiration from an existential writer to articulate the absurdity of life represents a huge jump for an industry that rarely looks beyond stolen film plots for creative stimulation. Therein lies the importance of being Homi Adajania.                    

First Published: Apr 20, 2006 19:13 IST

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