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Ritesh Batra On Shooting With Robert Redford & Jane Fonda



Ritesh Batra has come a long way since  The Lunchbox. After the globally acclaimed film he has moved on to his next Our Souls At Night , a film starring two Hollywood legends Robert Redford and Jane Fonda which he  shot for in Colarado, US.

The  teaser trailer is just out. It shows the two Hollywood legends driving together, darting loving glances at each other. Clearly this  is a film about autumnal love.

Describing the film Ritesh says, “ It’s based on a novel called Our Souls At Night. It was American novelist  Kent Haruf’s last novel before he passed away. It’s the  story set in Colorado about  two aging people who find happiness together. It’s a highly regarded novel.”

Ritesh is extremely happy to work with Redford and Fonda. “They are Wonderful! Extremely generous people. They are both wonderful and so eager and curious about their characters.”

Fonda and Redford play a couple re-discovering love in their twilight years.

Not too many changes  have been made   in the screen adaptation, except for one character.

Elaborates Ritesh, “The daughter’s character is more of a presence in my film.She’s just mentioned in the novel.I’ve to work towards fitting the novel into a  new medium. I’ve to retain the soul of the novel.The novel and the film have to be like cousins, nice companions to one another.”

Ritesh has  hardly been in India lately.  “I was in London shooting another project The Sense Of An Ending , a screen adaptation of Julian Barnes’ novel featuring Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling for a year. Then I went back to Mumbai for three weeks. Now I am here in Colorado shooting for Our Souls At Night.”

Ritesh begs off feeling  any lingering satisfaction for the global impact of  The Lunchbox. “In Colorado people here have seen The Lunchbox! It’s very reassuring. There is a long way to go before I feel any sense of satisfaction. I never  thought The Lunchbox would go so far.But when I had made it I knew it had a certain emotional resonance which would appeal to a wide audience.”

Ritesh feels  Indian cinema needs more support from the Indian government. “Indian actors like Irrfan, Nawazuddin, Naseer, Priyanka, now Deepika are being recognized globally. But I think there’s a lot to be done. I think there has to be more support from the Indian government for both movies and sports.”

Ritesh is proud of what India has achieved in  sports. “ I think it’s truly commendable ,given the lack of resources.That fine American  actor Bruce Dern  who is part of  my film Our Souls At Night used to be an athlete. He was talking about how admirable it is for Indian athletes to make it in the Olympics. Similarly for films like The Lunchbox to travel so far is not easy.There is a lot more work to be done before we are recognized globally.”

Ritesh plans to make a film in India. “My next film is set in India.Right now I am here in Colorado shooting  for Our Souls At Night.We complete all shooting by the end of the year.”

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