CINEMA Sudhish Kamath's “Good Night Good Morning” explores the dynamics of contemporary romance

Boy meets girl. The oldest story in the world. Of course, context changes constantly. In town to wrap up the shooting for the movie “Good Night Good Morning”, Seema Rahmani and Manu Narayan talk about their newest take on issues of love, and romance in a technology-besotted world.

“It's a conversation film about an all-night phone call between two strangers — and an almost romance,” says Manu, discussing how phones and computers have dramatically changed the way relationships develop.

Seema and Manu should know. With acting careers that demand constant travel, they've both realised how dependent they are on their cell phones when it comes to relationships.

Seema, recently seen in “Loins of Punjab Presents…” has bases in New York City, Los Angeles and Mumbai. She was the female lead in “Sins”, directed by Vinod Pandey. She's also performed in over 30 theatre and musical productions in Los Angeles, she's hosted NDTV Good Times' animal-welfare show “Heavy Petting”.

New York-based Manu Narayan, currently in M. Night Shymalan's “The Last Airbender”, originated the ‘hero' Akash in A.R. Rahman's musical “Bombay Dreams” on Broadway. He also co-starred in Mike Myers' Paramount Pictures comedy “The Love Guru”, besides making guest appearances in a host of TV shows ranging from “The Sopranos” to “Lipstick Jungle”. He's a singer/ saxophonist, besides being a stage and screen actor.

If that's not multicultural enough for you, here's one more nugget. His father lived in Mylapore and studied at Loyola college before he emigrated to Delmont, Pennsylvania (which means Manu doesn't want us to wax too eloquent on his girlfriends. “My periamma reads this newspaper every morning,” he says, nervously.)

Long-distance relationships

Relationships, however, are the crux of the story. “I've been travelling for a long time in my life… And this movie made me realise how much time I spend building relationships on the phone,” says Seema. She adds, long-distance relationships have their advantages. “You are able to give the person space. I found that even if we spoke only once in two weeks, we could speak for four to five hours.

Although this is a modern film, Manu says it's essentially about capturing old world romance. “The world may have changed but romance is still about old fashioned love… so the movie's contemporary, yet classic at the same time.”

Director Sudhish Kamath, who previously made “That Four Letter Word”, says he wanted to explore the dynamics of contemporary romance in “Good Night Good Morning”. “All of us have so much to do. We're always on the move. Our only personal space now is our cell phone…” he says, adding “We've all had that one night long phone call.”

His research included setting up five male friends with five women they didn't know, on the phone, and recording the conversation. “What was interesting was the outcome. It proved that two people have to put in an equal effort for any relationship to be healthy.”

The movie, set in New York during New Years, doesn't overtly advertise its roots, thus breaking away from the accepted Indian movie in English mould. “It could be a film in any nationality,” says Seema. “It's not about ethnicity. It's not casting for colour. It's just a story about people — this is beyond a specific culture.”