The news of actor-producer Dhanush, famous for his work in Kollywood and Bollywood, bagging the lead in an international film co-starring Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill) has generated a fair amount of excitement among fans.
The film is an adaptation of the bestselling French novel The Extraordinary Journey Of A Fakir Who Got Trapped In An Ikea Wardrobe (2013, translated version published in 2014). It will be helmed by Iranian origin French filmmaker/graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis, The Voices), who told HuffPost India in a phone conversation that the film is slated for a 2017 release.
"This was a script that actually came to me and I really wanted to make an international, universal film," she said. "I'm going to work very hard to make sure it'll be no cliché of India."
The novel tells the story of 38-year-old Ajatshatru Oghash Rathod, a 'fakir' from Rajasthan who tricks his village into sponsoring his travel to Paris, from where he purports to buy a bed of nails from an IKEA. The whimsical story takes him on an adventurous journey through Morocco before culminating in India. "It's an adventurous love story with a socio-political background that is also about friendship and migration," says Satrapi.
Shooting begins on June 22. Jodhpur, Rajasthan, a place Satrapi is besotted with, will be one of the prominent locations in India that will feature in the film. "I think it's one of the most beautiful places in the world," she says.
She says she watched 17 of Dhanush's films, including his Hindi debut Raanjhana, before finalising him for the lead. "I find him to be an excellent actor who commits fully to his character. When you're making a film, you have to fall in love with your actor and that's what happened to me. We didn't even make any propositions to other actors — Dhanush is my dream actor and he is made for this role."
Dhanush expressed his excitement about the role in a Facebook post, which read: "I am very excited by this opportunity to work in a full length Hollywood film The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir Who Got Trapped In The Ikea Cupboard for the first time. The director Marjane Satrapi felt I would be apt for this role and I feel there are many facets I can explore for this character. I thank my fans and media for constantly standing by me and pushing me to explore new endeavours and challenges all the time."
Another prominent Indian actress in this international cast — which also includes American actress Alexandra Daddario (True Detective, San Andreas), British actress Gemma Arterton (Quantum Of Solace), Somali-American actor Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) — is Seema Biswas. "She's another great actress," says Satrapi. "Both [Dhanush and her] have these big, soulful eyes in common."
Commenting on the scope of the film, she says, "This is the first time I'm shooting a movie in more than one country and the first time I have four actors from four different continents in it. It's quite interesting that we have this much diversity in a film that, ultimately, is about togetherness. I think it'll have a lot of very important things to say about the world we live in."
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