Movies

Dhanush was focused about his craft, says 'Fakir' co-star Berenice Bejo

Dhanush and Berenice Bejo in a scene from ‘The Extraordinary Journey of The Fakir’

Dhanush and Berenice Bejo in a scene from ‘The Extraordinary Journey of The Fakir’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

French actor Berenice Bejo on working with Dhanush in 'The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir', and why it was tough to master ‘Bollywood moves’

Berenice Bejo has every reason to be excited about The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir, the French-English co-production that is opening in India this week. “It’s [India] a big and diverse country. Dhanush is a well-known face and I’m curious as to how the audience would react to this type of movie,” says Berenice, over phone from Italy.

Whether it’s a Hollywood movie like A Knight’s Tale or an arty The Past, it’s important for Berenice to get into the director’s headspace before signing a project. “I need to know everything about the director; what he/she brings to the script, the theme that they deal and so on,” she explains. Which is why it isn’t a surprise that she signed Fakir for its director Ken Scott. “He is a smart person and I’ve watched his movies. Barring the director, I give more importance to the story. I like doing everything — from romance to action. Fakir could’ve been a simple story about ordinary people. But it isn’t. I really liked Ken’s treatment of humour, which was British in a way,” she adds.

Berenice Bejo hasn’t read the book The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe, on which the movie is based. However, she believes that the theme addressed in Fakir is quite relevant in Europe. “It’s a beautiful story about love and friendship. The topics that Ken dealt with are happening across the world, especially in Europe. The film is about acceptance; opening doors and welcoming people — of different colour, race and culture,” she says, adding that she okayed the script for the very reason that it’s a heartwarming tale.

How difficult or easy was the process to play Nelly Marnay in The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir? “It’s a minor and simple character,” she says, adding, “It wasn’t a complex process at all, especially when you compare with the characters I played in the past. In that sense, the character Dhanush plays is more complicated because he has to anchor the entire film.”

Berenice has nice things to say about her co-star Dhanush, who’s made his international début with Fakir. Describing him as a “charming actor”, she says Dhanush never carried the aura and stayed humble on sets. “He was very focussed about his craft and you don’t feel pressure around him. It must have been a difficult movie for him because he never worked with one person and was always surrounded by people. But he was friendly with everyone.”

Berenice feels that Fakir is a special movie for Dhanush, more than anybody else. She adds, “I know he’s a big star in India, but people don’t know him well in Europe. And he was least bothered about that. He’s full of love in the movie and I think Fakir was like a holiday for him, to be himself.” A recent video clip showed Berenice Bejo grooving to the ‘Madaari’ song. The actress quickly confesses that the most challenging part of The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir was to learn dancing. “We don’t dance in our movies,” she laughs, explaining, “I’m not a dancer, but I had to dance for The Artist. I somehow understood that Ken wanted me to try something different. It’s not a serious role, so I took things lightly.”

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir has made it to several international film festivals and won Ray of Sunshine Award at Norwegian International Film Festival last year. Berenice, who has watched the movie, says she was “touched by it”. She goes on to add: “In a way, the movie is a reflection of today’s reality, which was smartly handled by Ken.” The premise of Fakir is about a man embarking on a journey that would change his life forever. Has Berenice had any such ‘extraordinary’ experiences? She laughs. “There are hundreds of them. My life itself is an extraordinary journey."

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 12:27:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/berenice-bejos-voyage-to-the-east/article28094806.ece

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