âForeignâ a film that engulfs many controversial subjects has created fireworks in Indiaâs festival circuit and is now set to do the same in the USA, New Zealand, Australia and in other countries. The film which marks the debut of actor Rahul Nathâs direction has gathered attention very fast and also excellent reviews for the cast and Rahul himself.
The story is not a regular run of the mill one and viewers will gravitate to the movie the second it starts. âForeignâ tells the story of Radhika, a girl from India that comes to the USA to begin her new married life. But she soon discovers that the honeymoon is over when her husband is abusive and her mother-in-law is a spiteful and evil bully. As time progresses, Radhika begins to feel isolated and lonely and seeks refuge with the local doctor who happens to be a friend of the family and he reassures her that everything will work itself out. A series of meetings with the doctor leads to a shocking revelation that Radhika is HIV positive and by chance Radhika discovers that her husband and the doctor have been previous lovers. This then leads to a sequence of events where Radhika plans her revenge.
The film is great as it keeps the audience on a continual roller coaster ride, where what you think, will not be the outcome. The strongest thread of this movie is its premise. To have such bold issues (and not one, but several) and to show case all of them in one sitting is a huge achievement. Kudos to Nath who ties in the subjects so well, that we are not overwhelmed, but intrigued at all times
Nath mentions âWhen writing the script, the ideas were just flowing to me. I did not have to stumble at any time and getting everything in the story connected and happened naturally. I guess when you write about a subject that you are so excited about, writing becomes like vomiting, you cannot control what comes outâ
LA Splash: What prompted so many taboo subjects in one movie?
Rahul: âIt is not like I went out of my way to make sure the movie was a shocker, again all the ideas were just falling into place. I already had the idea that the doctor and the husband were going to be previous lovers, but I wanted to give the impression to the audience that the doctor was in love with Radhika. Luckily at the screenings that is the feedback that I got. In terms of the HIV transmission, again I knew from the word go that I wanted that in the movie and it seemed logical to have this as a connection between Radhika, the doctor and her husbandâ
LA Splash: How difficult was it acting and directing in the same movie?
Rahul: âMuch easier than I anticipated. Credit goes to my cast, especially the females in the movie, Puja who plays Radhika, Shruti who plays the mother in law and Ananya who plays the sister; they had everything down before the cameras got rolling. For me the most important thing was finding the right actress to play Radhika. At casting we saw over 70 girls and most were great, they just did not fit what we were looking for. But when I saw Puja I knew that she was the one, but still carried on looking just to confirm to myself that I had found the right actressâ
LA Splash: The film has done very well in India. Do you expect the same success in other countries? Given that the theme is very Indian specific.
Rahul: âI think that the audience will see the people as they are, and not for whom they are. The good thing about the script was that it could have been any ethnicity to play the parts, obviously with a few changes here and there. So I guess it would be how invested the audience would be in the subject matter. At the Mississippi Film Festival, the Indian culture is not large, but we have received excellent reviews and feedback, and the festival organizer told me recently that we were one of the first movies to be accepted. I think we stand a pretty good chance of doing well, wherever we go.
LA Splash: Now that âForeignâ has created an impact, there is a buzz surrounding your next venture: Compromise. Do you feel any pressure for that to be a festival winner as well?
Rahul: Compromise is a totally different movie that has more to do with the characters than it does with the story line. It is visually more brutal and has scenes that will be difficult to watch. It depends on what audiences want to see when they go to the cinema. I never thought about the outcome of âForeign,â my importance was making the movie and screening it at festivals. That is the same attitude that I have for compromise. But yes it would be nice for that movie to have the same success.
âForeignâ will next be shown at various film festivals around Los Angeles including the Venice Film Festival, the Indian Film Festival and also the International film festivals in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Africa.