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'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was more of a tourist catalogue'

Last updated on: January 23, 2012 12:35 IST

'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was more of a tourist catalogue'

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Meghna George in Kochi

Lal Jose is among the finest filmmakers in Malayalam. His latest offering, Spanish Masala, which released last Friday, has Dileep, Kunchacko Boban and Austrian beauty Daniela Zacherl in the lead.

In this interview, Lal Jose explains to Meghna George his choice of location for the film, his unusual choice of heroine, and what the film is about.

According to you, how spicy is Spanish Masala?

Spanish Masala is a masala of romance, relationships, foreign locales, good songs and so on. There are no tall claims; this is meant as a hardcore entertainer.

It is about a mimicry artiste named Charlie, who goes with a performing group to Spain and continues to stay there illegally. There are many real stories of people who are now living in various countries in Europe in such a manner. They struggle for several years there before getting their legal status.

That is the basic backdrop here. Luck, which eluded Charlie while he was in his native place, favours him when he reaches Spain.


Image: A scene from Spanish Masala.Inset: Lal Jose


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'There are lots of violent celebrations in Spain'

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Why did you set the story in Spain?

The story requires a foreign country and is about communication that goes beyond languages. People usually migrate to European countries.

It could have been shot in the UK, but English is known to us. Almost all of us know at least something about Britain, but our only picture about Spain is that it is the land of bullfights and soccer. They have a great culture which we aren't much aware of.

What was your experience shooting in Spain?

Besides the white skin of the natives and the general European styles, the people of Spain have definite similarities with Indian culture, especially with Tamil Nadu.

There are lots of violent celebrations in Spain like the bullfights that are quite similar to the jallikkettu. I feel that the Spanish people are more emotional and they like to express their feelings more.


Image: A scene from Spanish Masala

Tags: Spain , Britain , European , UK

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'Spanish Masala is a hardcore entertainer'

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How tough was shooting during the La Tomatina festival, bull fighting and flamenco dance?

It was perhaps the most wonderful and toughest experiences in my life. La Tomatina is some kind of a violent celebration.

The festival happened in a small street and it was interesting to see people give way for the truck. The festival is there for just one hour and once it is over, the streets become empty and they clean the streets almost instantly.

How inspiring was last year's Hindi hit Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara which was also shot in Spain?

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was more of a tourist catalogue. I have not given the kind of visual importance to Spanish Masala that I usually give to my films. It is just that the story is happening in Spain. A few Spanish people are involved, their emotions and their culture is being shown.

La Tomatina, the bullfight and flamenco dance have been used as part of the Spanish culture and to enhance the visual beauty.


Image: A scene from Spanish Masala


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'Shooting La Tomatino festival was the toughest experiences in my life'

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How did you choose the heroine, Daniela Zacherl?

We had done auditions in Spain and Austria. We found a few actors in Spain and it was during the Austrian auditions that we met Daniela, who is a professional dancer and model.

You have launched several new heroines, including the Chinese girl Zhang Shu Min. How was the experience with Daniela?

Frankly, it was never easy as she comes from a different culture. She is an Austrian who had no real knowledge about Spanish culture.

In the film, she had to use three languages--Spanish, English and Malayalam. But the problem was that she was only familiar with English. She has no prior experience in acting and the way she expresses is different.


Image: A scene from Spanish Masala


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'Dileep is a great friend'

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Since it was pretty tough shooting in a foreign country, will you accept similar offers in the future?

(Smiles) Usually, after every film shot in outdoor locations, I decide not to make such films for a while. But whenever I decide to do so, I end up having a new story set against exactly such backdrops.

You have directed Dileep in quite a number of films. How good is your chemistry with him?

We are so close that we barely need to talk during the shooting. We have reached a stage where I know what he is doing and he knows what I want.

Of course, there may be clarifications needed at times. But I don't strain to please him, though he is a star, as we are so casual and Dileep is a great friend.


Image: A scene from Spanish Masala

Tags: Dileep

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