'Being Cyrus' partly from my own life: Adajania ...

By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

imageMumbai, (IANS) Debutant director Homi Adajania says his just-released "Being Cyrus" is partly autobiographical but insists he has not gone through the experience that his film's character has.

"'Being Cyrus' leaves you with an introspective feeling," said the director of the English film. "Cyrus is partly borrowed from my own life. But I've definitely not gone through the experiences Cyrus has."

The film was well accepted during its screenings abroad, said Adajania, who is confident it will do well in India too.

"I really believe that my film's distinct flavour will attract audiences. The audiences need that uniqueness. My film requires a lot of reading between the lines because it's so simple," Adajania told IANS in a chat.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: Okay, most important question first. Does "Being Cyrus" have lots of sex?

A: Not at all! In fact some stills give the wrong impression. The intimacy between Dimple Kapadia and Saif Ali Khan is just a passing moment. But no, Dimple isn't embarrassed by the moment. Why should she be? Her dedication is what makes her so special. Would you believe I had never met Dimple before "Being Cyrus"? I've never been what you'd call a mad movie buff, though I do love Farhan Akhtar's and Karan Johar's films.

I think that quality of not being over familiar with the movies gave my vision certain spontaneity. I really believe that my film's distinct flavour will attract audiences. The audiences need that uniqueness. My film requires a lot of reading between the lines because it's so simple.

Q: What about the rest of the cast?

A: Though I'm not at all a movie person I had met Naseeruddin Shah and Boman Irani in passing. Saif... I had seen in "Dil Chahta Hai" and had met him twice. These were all my first choice. Everyone wants to know how I got such a wonderful cast. But to be very frank I didn't think about it at that time. These were the people I wanted. And I got them.

I was insistent about a narration. That's what won all of them over. While writing the script I could see the film in my head. As it developed from draft to draft the screenplay went upside down. We simplified it more and more. Now when I think back I feel I was really lucky. The stars were on my side. And I don't mean my film's cast.

Q: You are a man of varied interests?

A: Yes I am. I'm passionate about scuba diving. But now I'm deeply focused on filmmaking, at least for the next 15 years, though I'm sure I can still take three months off in a year to go scuba diving. For a very long time I was a freelancer. And I did a lot of travelling. Once I went to England to sail a yacht back from England. But I missed the boat. I had a one-way ticket. And no money to return home! So I stayed on in England for five months. I was adopted by a French family.

Q: Interesting... But who the hell would want to watch a film called "Being Cyrus"?

A: You forget it was earlier called "Akoori". It's Parsi for scrambled egg. That was our working title. I like to take chances. In life there has to be a certain amount of uncertainty.

Q: What makes you think enough people want to see a film about a dysfunctional Parsi family?

A: You're slotting "Being Cyrus" in a niche. The Parsi angle is incidental. Apart from Cyrus the other characters are boldly defined in an extreme way that makes them universal.

Q: Please define that?

A: Dimple, for example, is grating and annoying. She's almost uni-dimensional in her characteristics. Like I said I had never seen any of the actors except in bits and pieces. But I knew Dimple was a glamorous persona. I instinctively knew she was right for the role. We hit it off the minute we met.

Q: Was the English language for the cast a problem?

A: Not at all! I didn't give any of my actors a stage-play accent. It doesn't bother me that only English-speaking audiences will watch the film. What did bother me was that when I went to Israel they didn't know who the Parsis were. And yet they connected with every nuance in my plot. That really gave me a kick.

In New York they insisted on having a second screening. In France nobody moved after the screening. I thought everybody had left the theatre. "Being Cyrus" leaves you with an introspective feeling. Cyrus is partly borrowed from my own life. But I've definitely not gone through the experiences Cyrus has.

Q: Weren't you apprehensive "Being Cyrus" would end up as a festival film?

A: Not at all! For me it's a film, period. I don't know much about the business of films. But whenever I showed the film abroad I just felt I had to show it back home. Thank god, it's finally happening.