(2004) “Ash is versatile” Rituparno Ghosh

On the day of his first Hindi film release, we caught up with director Rituparno Ghosh to find out more on the film and the actress he has worked with.

Excerpts of his recent tete-e-tete

Let’s start with the title of the film, why ‘Raincoat’?
I am not very fluent with Hindi, therefore keeping a Hindi title was a little difficult for me. I also believe that a title like this adds a little mystery to the film. And once you see the film then you will be able to connect with the two.

How have you used rain to tell the story?
Its more than rain, it’s the entire sawan (Hindi month) or the monsoon period. The ‘Viraha’ (period of separation) between lovers finds an aching symbol in rain. Further, in our quest to get contemporary, we seem to forget our Indianness. And an element such as this helps reinstate just that.

You have worked with Aishwarya Rai in ‘Chokher Bali’ and now in ‘Raincoat’. What according to you is her appeal?
Ash is versatile. I like her more in the regional cinema that she has done, be it in Tamil or in Bengali. I saw her in ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, and I was extremely impressed with her. But she can manage both regional and Hindi or Bollywood cinema. In ‘Raincoat’, you will be looking at her in a very different light.

Ash is playing a simple girl or rather a housewife. How did you decide on her look?
We didn’t sit with any stylist for her look or anything. Our script was strong enough to derive at Neerja’s look. I didn’t have to convince Ash at all. As she got comfortable with the role. She did everything required for it. She also put on some weight for the rounded look that the film demanded.

Ajay has mentioned that his character of Manoj is special. Why?
Manoj is a defeatist. To put it simply, he is a loser. And for an actor to portray that with proper emotions is a hard task. And Ajay’s performance is commendable in the film. It was also he, who suggested that we stick with this title.

What is the one thing about filmmaking that fascinates you?
Unfortunately or rather fortunately, I am in love with cinema as a whole. I am not into sections or aspects of it. I look at the total picture.

The industry and the critics are too keen on slotting a film. What do you think ‘Raincoat’ will get slotted as?
I don’t know that. As I am the filmmaker and I am not sitting on the other side of the fence. But like any other film ‘Raincoat’ will find its audience. And I can promise them one thing, which is an intimate interplay of emotions with a charming gift towards the climax. So they have to keep an open mind when the come to see the film.

- Smashits

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