We want to pursue creatively-satisfying characters, say Laila Majnu stars Avinash, Tripti
Director Sajid Ali's Laila Majnu is a modern retelling of the classic tale of heartbreak and longing
"A contemporary romance driven by timeless feelings," remarks Imtiaz Ali while describing his take on Laila Majnu, a classic love story he reimagined as a film in 2008 and later tapped his brother Sajid Ali to direct. "There are some love stories which endure through time. There's a central mystery to these characters which resonates across ages."
Co-produced by Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor and Preeti Ali and presented by Imtiaz, Laila Majnu is slated for release on September 7, 2018. Set in present-day Jammu and Kashmir, the film features the fresh pairing of Avinash Tiwary and Tripti Dimri. Relatively new to the film screen, Avinash starred in the 2017 slice-of-life drama Tu Hai Mera Sunday; Tripti debuted with the comedy film Poster Boys, also released the same year. Both actors promise to bring a relatable youthfulness to the templates of Majnu and Laila.
"It's very difficult to describe my character of Majnu. He is someone who is unaffected by judgement; he has no vanity thoughts about himself. His passion is pure and unguided by frivolous social trappings. In many ways, I want him to be aspirational to the internet-age youth, whose lives have become an hashtag," says Avinash
But as a young actor climbing his way up, don't 'frivolous vanity thoughts' occupy his mind. "Yes they do. I have to keep up with Instagram everyday to retain my visibility. I often get jealous of other actors, or upset by someone's perception. But on a personal level, I understand these things to be temporary and irrelevant. Playing Majnu somewhere shaped my mind a lot."
On an opposite vein, talking about her character of Laila, Tripti adds, "Before reading the script, I imagined Laila to have a controlled and ladylike persona. But, she's quite the opposite. She is a flirt; she likes constant attention, specially from boys. But she is also very strong and bold."
As young performers on the cusp of stardom, both Avinash and Tripti wish to pursue meaningful, creatively-satisfying roles. "I want to do films that are real and tied to the land. I like directors like Sharat Katariya (Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Sui Dhaaga), Neeraj Ghaywan (Masaan) and Vasan Bala (Peddlers) who are telling these stories. I got so envious when I saw Ranbir Kapoor in Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar. That's where I want to be," expresses Avinash.
"I don't want to do roles that treat me like a prop or use me for the glamour quotient. After playing Laila in Laila Majnu, I want to keep playing strong and substantial characters, who touch your heart," assures Tripti.
The trailer and songs of Laila Majnu capture the scenic landscape of Kashmir, but the politics finds no mention in the film. Explains Avinash, "We have intentionally kept the politics away. There's hardly any film on Kashmir that doesn't feature the army or the terrorists. I spent 4-5 months with the people of Kashmir and they were always very nice to me, sometimes without knowing I am an actor. I would get frantic calls from my parents whenever a news was breaking on TV, but the ground reality looked very different to me."