We are on the fence when asked if Bollywood needs another tragic love story? But there’s one team who thinks that Bollywood movie fans can never get tired of a good love story. Meet the actors from Laila Majnu, the new Bollywood take on the oft-told tale, out in the UAE on September 6.
Here are five things to know about Laila Majnu:
1. Laila Majnu is a romantic drama directed by Sajid Ali, the lesser-known brother of Imtiaz Ali whose credits include Rockstar, Jab We Met and Socha Na Tha. The siblings joined hands to write the screenplay of Laila Majnu, which is set in Kashmir. But it’s Sajid who called the directorial command. It’s a modern spin on the classical folklore/poem, Layla Majnum, about two young members from feuding families who fall in love recklessly. They pay a heavy price for falling in love with the wrong soul mate.
2. It’s not just the director who’s keen to prove his mettle. Industry outsiders Avinash Tiwari and Tripti Dimri, who are relatively unknown to the world of acting and who aren’t born to any distinguished acting families, play the title roles of the star-crossed couple.
“Laila Majnu is a modern take on the classical folklore. Although it’s a famous love story, not many around me are aware of it. Even I wasn’t very aware, until I read the abridged version of the classi … People of 2018 will relate to this modern adaptation,” said Tiwari in an interview with Gulf News tabloid! Apart from the story, Tiwari found filming in Kashmir an extraordinary experience.
“It’s heaven on earth, but the people and the culture is so rich of Kashmir too… I am eager to see how my film has explored the culture and people of Kashmir,” said Tiwari.
3. It’s not the first time that Bollywood has explored themes of love, rebellion, soul mates and sacrifice. There are too many to even count. So don’t beat yourself up if you wonder if the world of Bollywood needed another tragic love story like Laila Majnu. But its main actor Tiwari believes that his film has the power to resonate with the cynical youngsters of today who seek partners on dating sites such as Tinder. Laila Majnu will remind all those who are looking for love in their lives that the concept of soul mates isn’t extinct.
“It’s even more relevant in today’s times. Dating apps may help you find sex, pardon me for saying that. All are looking to become one with someone else. In today’s times, even after you find someone good on Tinder, you are often back again looking for another right person after a day or two. I often wonder why they continue with their search? This story of Laila Majnu tells you that there’s a soul mate out there for you,” said Tiwari.
4. Tiwari lost a whopping 12 kgs in a span of 14 days and grew a beard to play the portions in the film where he played a troubled, frustrated lover. He went on an extreme diet to sport the shaggy, shrinking look.
“At first, we thought we could do the leaner portions by cheating with clothes. But it didn’t work out and we realised that we cannot cheat the audiences. I had to lose muscle and fat quickly… I barely ate anything except egg whites, chicken clear soup in the afternoon and carrot or cucumber in the night. That was my diet,” said Tiwari.
5. Both Tiwari and Dimri had to undergo rigorous auditions and workshops for Laila Maju.
“There was a nationwide search for actors for this film. The waiting period, whole of 2016, was a painful one. But I am glad they chose me,” said Tiwari. Meanwhile, the Delhi-born Dimri underwent auditions for the film twice. Her first round did not result in a call back. And her second round of auditions happened by chance as she was asked to do one when she accompanied her actor-hopeful friend for the same. The casting agent spotted her waiting outside for her friend and asked her to audition again as she looked like a woman from the mountains and seemed to fit the bill.
“I have always wanted to be an actor. My father too wanted to be one but he couldn’t pursue it since his father was against acting. But this time, my father didn’t stop me and asked me to follow my dreams,” said Dimri.
Don’t miss it!
Laila Majnu releases in the UAE on September 6.