“Barah Aana is not really Bollywood” – Giulia Achilli

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Barah Aana has gone on to gain immense critical acclaim but you may not know that the producer behind the film is actually Italian. Her name is Giulia Achilli. The producer came to India looking for herself and instead landed up becoming a part of the film. Being a part of films is nothing new to the talented producer who has worked previously in many films back home in Italy and while she may only have been in India for a short while now, you can pick up hints of India that stand out in her otherwise Italian accent. All it took was a quick meeting with Raja Menon, the director of the film and the duo instantly knew that they were on their way to making the critically acclaimed film. BollySpice catches the new producer as she is on location shooting for a new documentary in beautiful Kashmir; check out what she has to say about Barah Aana, her connection with India and drinking expresso at local cafes!

What drew you to the project of Barah Aana?

I came to India on a sort of exploration trip; let’s call it, to focus on cinema because that is what I did in Italy before. A couple of months were taken to figure out what to do and meet people. And the concept of Barah Aana is so close to the kind of cinema I had grown up with as cheesy as it sounds, but it’s true. Having said that, Barah Aana has a contemporary colorful Indian key and the energy of Raja was a part of it for sure. So we started off and developed it, which became Barah Aana.

What is a young Italian producer doing producing a Bollywood film?

Well, Barah Aana is not really Bollywood. I mean I wouldn’t call it Bollywood – I just consider it as a story. For me I don’t belong to this so Bollywood or non-Bollywood, honestly it doesn’t matter. I just value the story and if I find it interesting, if I have faith in the filmmaker, then that is all I care about. Like for instance, this class system in India is not something that touches me very much. There is not so much of propagation of Bollywood outside the NRI territory. So it’s really the story that drives you and the elements with which the story comes to you.

What was the experience of working with an Indian production?

It was super-smooth to be honest. They were very professional but the numbers are ten-times bigger than anywhere else though! (Laughs) You have crews of 120 instead of 30 which is what I have previously experienced and that also for such a small film! But besides that it was super organized in its scales as much as Bombay is a city or India is a country. So the production was not a problem at all.

The production has been in the news for its great script, amazing execution, fabulous performances and also the amount of women behind the script. Did you expect this kind of reaction from the audiences and critics?

Well, I am very happy that this is not a film that has left people indifferent which is what matters because then you can have an opinion. The moment you create an opinion about something, it means that you paid attention to that something and that’s already halfway to success in a way. The film has catered to everyone who has seen it and is going very well on DVD. They are selling a lot of units per week. I was talking with the distributors and retail shops, and it is not one of those films that are selling crazily the first weekend but they are selling for months on end. That means that people still think it is worth spending their 300 rupees on a DVD. And with downloading off the internet nowadays, to have the thought of let me buy a CD or a DVD, it means that you really care for it; which is great. I’m very happy to the reaction of the film.

How was Raja Menon as a director?

Raja is very talented. He is a person who is not afraid of working at all. He’s a really hardworking guy who has a vision yet a point coming through in everything from his attitude to the film itself. It was a story he really felt he had to tell. And that came through, which is a strong thing and you need that to make a film work. The last thing you want is to be hanging on in indecision. Actually he was extremely clear in every decision and quick in making decisions.

Now that I’ve spoken to you, I can’t help but think that the character of Kate is closely inspired by your life.

(Laughs) Closely inspired by my life – not really. But a few of the elements, yes. For example, my coming to India as a complete stranger, yeah, I may have experienced some of those situations. For instance sitting at a caf

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