Kuch Bheege Alfaaz explores love in today's times
In an age when dating apps seem to be killing the essence of what love is meant to be comes this breezy, light-hearted, romantic film, Kuch Bheege Alfaaz. The story of Archie, a girl with leukoderma and Alfaaz, a heart-broken RJ, attempts to redefine love in today’s times. This unusual film by one of Bolly-wood’s most thoughtful directors, Onir, has been getting rave reviews for its sensitive approach.
While Onir is known for his films on relationships, this is perhaps the first time that he has directed a romantic film. “This isn’t just a romantic film, it’s possibly the first film in the world where the female protagonist has leukoderma and ultimately the film is about inner beauty. All of us have a certain idea of beauty because of fairness creams and fashion. But this film tells you that you should recognise the beauty within and then you will be able to give out love and accept love much more easily,” says Onir. Geetanjali Thapa, who won the National Award for her role in the film Liar’s Dice plays the role of Archie, while newcomer Zain Khan Durrani is cast as Alfaaz.
Speaking about the actors, Onir says, both of them were the best choices for the roles. “I didn’t want Archie to be rondu (a crybaby), I wanted her to be full of life. Geetanjali gave Archie that life and dignity. In fact, now, after the film, I have stopped calling Geetanjali by her name and have saved her number as Archie on my phone,” he shares. Zain, who is from Kashmir, had auditioned for an earlier film by Onir, but things worked out for the actor only now. “When the script came to me, I imagined Zain as Alfaaz. He is a poet in real life, has deep sensitive eyes and a great voice, which is perfect for an RJ,” says Onir.
The director calls this the film of the ‘marginalised’. He says, “It was coincidental that all three of us fit in the space of marginalised. Zain is from Kashmir, Geetanjali is from the North East and I represent the LGBT voice in Bollywood. In a way all of us are marginalised.”While Kuch Bheege Alfaaz is still in the news, Onir’s documentary, Raising The Bar, on six young individuals with Down syndrome premiered in Mum-bai last week.
The 70-minute documentary, produced by Mitu Bhowmick Lange, founder of Mind Blowing films and Cate Sayers of e.motion21, attempts to create awareness about such individuals and how they are leading a regular life. “I don’t know how much of a difference we will make, but even the ushers in the theatre in Mumbai stood watching the film. There were people who have sent very long messages to me, not about Down syndrome but about how unkind we are as people. Even if 10 per cent of the audience is moved by the film, it means something,” says Onir who is already busy working on his next film — Driving Lessons starring Tannishtha Cha-tterjee and Ashish Bisht. “It’s my version of a rom-com,” he signs off with a laugh.