One of the films that is on everyone’s “I HAVE to see this” list is Raavan. Directed by Mani Ratnam, and starring Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan, the film is scheduled to release on June 18th. We recently told you about their visit to Cannes to promote the film and now we have a look inside what was said at the press conference with Abhi and Aish!
Amit Tanna of Reliance Big Pictures praised director Mani Ratnam by saying, “Mani Ratnam is arguably the best living director and it is indeed an honour to be associated with a film of this scale and dimension. Something which is very precious to Mani’s heart. We here at Reliance believe that this is one of those films that will break out.”
Suhasini Ratnam, who wrote the script and co-produced the film said, “Every story in India goes back to the two epics – Mahabharat and Ramayana. We have borrowed one of the names of the characters for our film Ravaan. 2000 years ago our epics were written about black, white and grey – about the hunter and the hunted. This film talks about if the hunter can understand the pain of the hunted and if the hunted can actually understand the hunger of the hunter how life could be. If two [people] from opposite poles could understand each other and accept each other in life – it could be wonderful but it could be difficult. This is a wonderful film, a difficult film and it is an intriguing film but I think it is magnificent.”
Abhishek, of course started with something witty by saying, “If Mani comes to you with a film, then before he knocks on the door you should be saying yes.” He went on to say, “You know he is going to give you something special, something challenging. Our last two films have proved just that. A point of concern for me was when he said he wanted to do another film, a part from being elated to get to work with him again, was how do we top what we did last, which was Guru. When he told me the concept of Raavan, I knew we had something special on hand. When he brought the character to me I said, Great – Raavan and you connect to the mythological character – the 10 heads. I am going to get the opportunity to play 10 different characters and have blast with it. Win lots of awards, it is going to be the role of a lifetime. It is going to be complex, there is going to be so many layers to it. Then when you read it, you actually realize that his perspective on a character is so unique that it actually simplifies everything else. I think in the film Raavan, Beera the character, is the most simple, the most straight forward and the most unambiguous character of the film. What I liked is that for him there is right and there is wrong. There is no grey, just black and white.”
Adding, “Mani has always taken Indian cinema to a different level. I hope that we have achieved that with Raavan.”
Aishwarya spoke about the challenges of the film and playing the same role in both the Tamil and Hindi versions of the film, “In this particular subject the physical challenges were difficult on a daily basis, and to add to it Mani did the impossible of making two movie simultaneously. He has done this before, but not at the same time. None of us could say, Oh My God why are you doing this, because he would be like, yeah, I am doing this for the first time too. So, we were all in it for the first time – pushing ourselves, finding that magical moment, because that is what cinema is about. Finding that magical moment with a different team, a different bunch of actors each time that was certainly something new for me. To do one take in Hindi, then suddenly all the actors change and we find that same moment of truth again in Tamil. By the third day into the schedule you have to, you’re meant to, and it is just a given, that you have to forget the physical situation you are in. Forget that you are drenched from 6 in the morning to 7 in the evening – that the day starts with a trek going to locations and then you muddy yourself and then get into costume. It was just a very emotional, demanding, consuming experience from moment to moment not even from scene to scene. In that sense, we genuinely enjoyed giving a lot of ourselves to every single moment to this film. We will have forever, enumerable creative and personal experiences attached to the film. We sure hope the audience is able to experience the journey along with us when you view it.”
“Personally speaking it truly is a privilege as actors, as creative people and anybody who came together on this team felt privileged to work with the best director that we have,” she added.
About working with husband Abhishek, Aishwarya said, “This wasn’t the first time we have worked together as colleagues – as co-actors. Because we have acted together before and possibly because this is just the way we are as actors, when you are on set and when you are in front of the camera, when the camera is rolling and you are delivering your work, you are just there being an honest actor, delivering to the moment and the scene and bringing to reality your director’s vision. That is what you are really doing, you are not thinking, okay now I am looking at my husband and I am sure he is not thinking, now I am looking at my wife or oh oops I hope she is not hurt. Not when the camera is rolling. He is nasty to me on screen in this film because he has to be that is the character. You just have to act as honestly as you can. But, yes it definitely was special that when you have a long, tiring day on a daily basis or a long schedule you come back home and you have each other. But the days were so long, you were so bushed and the next day started you barely had time for TLC, but that definitely was wonderful.”
Check out these exclusive pictures from the event!