Naseeruddin Shah wasn't easily convinced for The Hungry: Director
Filmmaker Bornila Chatterjee says the actor feels that Titus Andronicus, which The Hungry is based on, is the worst thing Shakespeare ever wrote
Independent filmmaker Bornila Chatterjee has helmed a number of projects, be it a short film or a feature film, but convincing veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah to act in her Indie feature The Hungry wasn't very easy.
The 100-minute film relocates Shakespeare's work Titus Andronicus to modern-day India, where corruption, greed and revenge run amok at an extravagant wedding. In the adaptation, villain Tamora transforms into Tulsi (essayed by Tisca Chopra) and Titus transforms into Titus (essayed by Naseeruddin).
"When he first met us he said, 'I think Titus is the worst thing Shakespeare ever wrote, why the hell do you want to make this.' And we thought 'Oh okay maybe this meeting is not going to go very well'," says Chatterjee.
"When we went to his house, he was literally just sitting there having just finished reading the play. So we talked a bit about it and he asked questions like 'Why now, why this', and we said that 'It was great to meet you and we are leaving this script if you can then please do read it'. He texted after a few hours that he 'loved the script and let's make it happen'," she adds.
Why did she choose a story by Shakespeare which was so gory? "For starters, the film came about because in 2015 in London, they were celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare. They basically decided that they are going to fund one Indian adaptation of a Shakespeare play because India shows tremendous interest in adaptations of Shakespeare plays. They wanted to fund one Independent micro-budget film. That is how The Hungry happened," says Chatterjee, who has helmed projects like White Lillies and The Sun is Shining.
She also believes that the film and the context is pretty relevant to the atmosphere today. "This one really felt like something really very relevant. It's not as much about the violence as it is this face-off between the families where you have a patriarch vs a matriarch," says Chatterjee.