Bombay Showcase

Love never really dies

(From left) Actors Shweta Prasad, Shernaz Patel and Naseeruddin Shah with director Adhiraj Bose.  

The setting is a cosy café. A dignified woman is seated alone at a table and a despondent young man at another. Then, Naseeruddin Shah walks in and his crinkly eyes, holding within them years of love and longing, twinkle in recognition. Thus begins the much-acclaimed, award-winning Interior Café Night by Adhiraj Bose.

The 13-minute film has gone viral, and brought into focus how love never really dies. It’s also delightful because of its cast: Shah and Shernaz Patel play the elder couple, and Shweta Basu Prasad and Naveen Kasturia their younger versions.

Bose is happy for Prasad, “Not many have recognised her talent yet. Now, I’m getting calls from people asking who this girl is,” he laughs.

With little thought to commerce, the 25-year-old Bose and his team took the festival route. “We did not hope for much, but we took part in 22, and won at six festivals. We realised the film is connecting well.”

Bose says that with this script, he was not looking to intellectually impress, but emotionally connect with people. “I think it has achieved its purpose,” he says. “I’ve been getting calls and mails from the film industry. Aamir [Khan], Rajkumar Hirani, Varun Dhawan and Vidhu Vinod Chopra have passed on their feedback too.”

Bose is grateful he got a dream cast. “Naseeruddin sir is offered short films all the time, but he does not agree easily,” says Bose. “He was in London when he read ours and asked us to wait till he got back. Once he agreed, I tweaked the script some more. I’m very happy he decided to come on board. It’s good for short films to get someone of his stature. Shernaz ma’am was on my mind when I wrote, and I’m lucky she agreed to star too.”

Interior Café Night was shot two years ago, and many wondered how a 23-year-old directed something so nuanced.

“Well, I do relationship dramas best,” Bose says, “and all I wanted to say was that love is ageless. It took time, yes, but I believed in it!” It helped that the off-screen dignity of the characters seeped into the film too, the film, therefore, was a nostalgic ride for many.

Bose set out making a film about an old couple meeting after decades, where they spoke more through silences, and a young couple breaking up, with an almost palpable yearning. He fused the two, and the film flits between the past and present till the penny drops: it is the story of one couple. “I was okay with people figuring out they were the same. I was not making a suspense thriller,” says Bose, who’s completed the screenplay for Bejoy Nambiar’s retelling of Mani Ratnam’s 1988 Tamil action drama Agni Natchathiram in Hindi. He’s also writing his first feature, again about relationships.

For Prasad, the character was enough to convince her to be a part of the film. “The length of the role does not matter any more; you don’t need to be part of a two-and-a-half hour film to prove your ability,” she says. Prasad will soon wrap up her documentary on the dying visibility of Indian classical music. It’s a film that she’s both produced and directed. She’s also signed up for a role in Dharma Productions’ Badrinath Ki Dulhania .

Kasturia, known for his role in hit web series TVF Pitchers , and the film Sulemani Keeda , chose the film because ‘good people’ were involved. “Also, I loved the script.” Reviews say that the actor aces parts in which he loses the girl, but Kasturia laughs in response. “I’ve not mastered it at all. I still struggle. But, there are differences,” he says. “In Sulemani Keeda , it was more an infatuation; in this film, I almost know I’ll never see her, though she hopes to stay in touch. There was more desperation here.”

Interior Café Night is available on YouTube.

The 13-minute film by Bose took part in

22 film festivals and won at six

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 4:00:16 AM |

Next Story