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Women On Song

Director Param Gill and British model-turned-actress Lucy Pinder chat with Box Office India about their upcoming international film Warrior Savitri

Box Office India (BOI): How did the film fall into place?

Lucy Pinder (LP): Param approached me with the film and I loved the script. What I liked about it was the fact that it was about a strong female character. I had not been approached for a Bollywood film before, so I thought, what an opportunity to be able to come to India for the first time. It has been amazing. I must say it’s very hot so I am still acclimatising myself slowly. (Laughs)

BOI: Param, why did you approach her for the film?

Param Gill (PG): I saw her show reel and I thought she would make an apt lead as one of the characters in the film. I was looking for someone who could pull off the role and someone who could play a martial arts fighter with conviction but would also look hot while playing that role! So Lucy fit all the parameters.

LP: The main thing for me is how Param explained how powerful the character is and all that she can do. Of course, it is an entertaining film with action and dance. But the strong message of the film made me say yes to it. After watching the film, every young girl will want to be like Savitri.

BOI: Lucy, have you watched any Bollywood films and what was your take on the Indian film industry?

LP: I knew that Bollywood was huge and that was one big reason I felt I should be in the film. Even though this isn’t necessarily a Bollywood film, but simply that Bollywood aspect was one of the reasons I felt I should definitely be a part of the film.

I have not yet watched any Bollywood films and I think I need to brush up with them. I will soon do that. I need a list of the best five Bollywood films to watch. Now I am intrigued and want to know more about this industry and the films being made here. I think our perception of Bollywood is just how vibrant they are and how fun the narratives are. The films are so much more visually exciting and they do films in ways that some Hollywood films do too. The music aspect of it is very exciting. I mean, I am not a dancer but I have been dancing. So, in this film, the makers had me dancing and fighting, so the opportunity to do all this in one film makes you test yourself and push yourself and gets you out of your comfort zone. I think that was all fun for me.

BOI: Can you tell us about your character and how you prepared for the role?

LP: Well I have to keep my character a secret. But she is a pretty fierce and strong woman. There are a couple of strong women in the film. People may be surprised…well I can’t give out anything. Watch the film and you will love it!

BOI: What was the idea behind making a film like this?

PG: I live in San Fransisco and keep hearing stories about rape in India. Since I am basically Indian, so when I hear such stories of my country, it hurts and bothers me. It makes you wonder what you can do for your country. I was born here, so my heart is here. Hence I want to do something for the women of India.

Let me share a story with you. The day I landed in America, I got into a bus. The driver was a lady and I was like, ‘Wow, she can do that!’ I got down and entered a hotel; the receptionist was a woman. I emerged from the hotel to go to my school and the bus was driven by a woman, and a pretty tough one at that. It got me thinking, what’s wrong with us? Why are we constantly telling our women that they can’t be strong? If women can do it here (in the US), they can do it there (in India). So the thought was to do something inspirational.

Then, of course, you look at the formula, how do you connect to the average Indian woman? Savitri is a concept from mythology that everyone connects with. Perhaps she is little different here, she has a story which I can’t reveal now. But having said that, the name ‘Savitri’ is just the connect; I am not looking for controversy, I am looking for inspiration.

BOI: How would you rate Param as a director?

LP: The thing with Param is that he is full of surprises. He would never tell us beforehand what we would have to do on that day. He would keep us guessing. So I would ask him in the morning, what would you want me to do, and he would tell me, don’t worry, it will be an easy scene. Then he would casually tell me that there was this six-foot-tall guy and I had to beat him up. I would tell him, I can’t do that. But we had a team of trained mixed martial artists, who were amazing.

PG: Yeah, we had 16 different variations of the script and we wanted things to be spontaneous. I would give Lucy a situation and ask her to react and she would react unrehearsed. That’s how we shot. Nobody had a script.

LP: (Cuts in)…which is quite scary. But in the end we pulled it off. (Laughs)

BOI: Is the film in Hindi?

PG: It’s an international film and Lucy’s scenes have been dubbed in Hindi. But I want to say that we haven’t had a film on martial arts come out of India and this is something that will wow the audience across the world. I mean, it has a very important message that girls should get serious about taking care of themselves. When you can enroll in dgfev online casino a dance school to learn to dance, you should also join martial arts classes so that you can take care of yourself and become a powerful, strong and self-sufficient woman.

BOI: Lucy, was it a tough shoot for you?

LP: It wasn’t tough because the whole team was kind of relaxed. What was taxing for me was the heat. But I think we had the right team in place, right from the people who taught us martial arts to dance. Everyone was so helpful that any kind of initial apprehension dissolved. I have done things in the film which I have never done in my life, so it was a very interesting experience for me. In fact, at the end of the film, I came away thinking, ‘I am not bad, I am quite good at all this’, and the credit for this also goes to the fabulous team we had.

In fact, I think I am going to carry on with martial arts even though the film is over. It gives you an adrenaline rush. On the days when we were tired after shooting, we were up again the moment we did some action. So action was addictive.

BOI: Were you familiar with Param’s earlier works?

LP: (Laughs) I didn’t like it but then I realised I did. It felt like I had seen this film. When I heard about the role, I felt ‘wow, how did this person make this film?’ When we started the film, I was really worried whether I would be able to impress. Then, on the set, I thought there would be too much pressure and I would not do a very good job. That’s when I spotted this man who was not stressed at all. He was quiet and handled everything with ease. There were days when everything was very chaotic but he handled it well. Despite the heat, we had action and dancing. It was structured very nicely by him and his team. He just went with the flow.

BOI: How happy are you with the final product?

LP: I haven’t seen the final product yet. But everything I have seen looks amazing, even the production values. What I like about Param is he is open to suggestions and he allows everyone to do their job. Like while doing action, he stepped back and let the action director do his job; similarly with the choreographers. He was very open to the lighting guys. He knows his team and how good they are. So he was de-stressed.

BOI: Lucy, can you share your experience while working with your co-stars?

LP: Niharika (Nayyar) is lovely, she is an outstanding actress. She is a surgeon.

PG: She is a cardiologist from Johns Hopkins.

LP: What’s that?

PG: That’s the leading university in the USA for cardiology. I mean, to get in there is a big deal.

LP: She is cardiologist and now she can do martial arts. She is very talented and lovely to work with and a very easygoing person. I haven’t shot with Rajat (Barmecha) yet but we will soon connect and he is a lovely guy. You (Param) cast really well.

PG: Thank you!

BOI: What about the music of the film?

PG: Well, I have done the music myself. So, basically, I have written it, directed it and composed the music too. I don’t know whether it’s good or not but I have done it.

BOI: What is the kind of release you are planning for the film?

PG: We are planning an international release. We have sold the film across Europe. As far as India is concerned, we were planning to release on October 2 but the pace at which things are happening might allow us to release earlier.

BOI: Lastly, why should people come and watch the film?

PG: We have worked enough to bring the commercial formula to our film. Our motto is to reach out to the common man and send out a message. Hopefully, I will be able to inspire a woman. The scenario about women in India must change.

LP: Yeah, I want to tell everyone to just enjoy the film. Listen to the message. And if I can fight and dance, I know anyone can!

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