A Minute With: Vikramaditya Motwane on O. Henry in Bollywood

Fri Jul 5, 2013 1:13am EDT
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Vikramaditya Motwane first caught the attention of Bollywood in 2010 when his debut film - a small-budget tale of teenage angst - made it to competition at the Cannes Film Festival in the category for emerging directors.

Three years after the success of that movie, "Udaan", or "Flight", Motwane is back with a big-ticket period romance inspired by "The Last Leaf", a short story by U.S. writer O. Henry in which a leaf painted on a wall saves the life of an ill young woman.

"Lootera", or "Thief", opened in Indian cinemas on Friday, going head-to-head with "Policegiri", the last completed film by jailed Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.

Motwane spoke to Reuters about "Lootera" and the difficulties of adapting a four-page short story first published in 1907 into a full-fledged Bollywood movie.

Q: What is "Lootera" about?

A: It is a love story, it's part thriller, mystery. At its core, it is a love story - it is about falling in love, about betrayal, redemption and a lot of things. It is also about friendship and life, and just a little bit more.

Q: Did you set out to make a love story?

A: Kind of. It is inspired from "The Last Leaf" which is a very strange love story, if it is a love story at all ... So me and Bhavani (Iyer), who is my co-writer, took it up as a challenge and said let us see what we can do with this adaptation. Also, we were struggling writers with nothing to do, so we said let's just do this. We bounced ideas off each other and built it up and then realized that this was serious. We could actually make a film out of this.   Continued...