Isabelle wanted to do an Indian film: Prem Raj

Mumbai: Legendary French actress Isabelle Adjani, who makes her debut in Bollywood with Preity Zinta’s maiden home production ‘Ishkq in Paris’, was always looking to do an Indian film and the makers feel that they have made the right choice by casting her.

“Its a big step for her. She is coming in a Hindi film for the first time and is speaking Hindi. Her role is very big it is not a cameo. We always wanted a French actress because the film is based in Paris. Someone recommended us that we should go with her for this film. We thought about it and started the process,” writer-director Prem Raj told PTI.

“We sent her the script and she said that she wanted to meet the director. So I flew to Paris and she said I was looking for an Indian film. She always said she had some connection with India. She loves song and dance, she loves Indian food,” he said.

“She is perfect for the role because she is playing French not an Indian and the film is in Paris. She also felt this is the perfect film for her so there was no better scenario than this for her,” he said.

Considering Isabelle is a French actress and that she is making her debut in Bollywood, the director wanted her to take lessons in Hindi.

“The biggest thing was for her to learn Hindi. She had to speak Hindi convincingly. I told her that I will not do subtitles. And I want my audience to understand the film and relate to it and if I give subtitles…the connect with the audience will break,” Prem said.

Prem, who made his debut with Salman Khan-Kareena Kapoor starrer ‘Main Aur Mrs Khanna’, was amazed the way the 57-year-old French actress learnt Hindi.

“She understood this and said she needed time to learn the language. She did not take much time to learn Hindi. I was amazed. She did her home work well. She understood the meaning of the language, where to take pause and all,” he said.

“She just said that if I mess up the accent, then handle that because I don’t know that. I must say she did a fabulous job,” he added.

Apart from making her learn Hindi, the makers made the two-time Oscar-nominee do all sorts of things that an Indian actress would do on screen.

“Isabelle Adjani is doing a Bollywood movie. She would do everything that an Indian actor would do. It is a proper Indian masaledaar Bollywood film,” Prem said.

The French are quite taken by Isabelle’s Indian look in the film where she is seen in sarees, ghagra-cholis, bindis and bangles.

Isabelle’s Indian look in the film has created quite a stir there. So actress-turned-producer Priety chose Paris for a premiere instead of Mumbai.

“Since she is popular actress there and the the film is primarily shot in Paris. Hence it is necessary that we should have the premiere there,” Prem said.

Having shot in one of the most romantic cities in the world, the makers could not miss the Eiffel Tower and captured its different angles and new ways.

“It is not a big deal to shoot in the Eiffel Tower…lots of people have done it. The Eiffel tower was required for the film as it is closely related to the story. We were worried what we will do in case we don’t get permit. But fortunately we got it,” Prem said.

“We wanted a little too much. We told them we want to go to the second level, which no one has gone yet, we want to take the cranes and everything with us and we want it shut for 12 hours. They knew it was predominantly about Paris so they were supportive,” Prem said.

“It took us a few months to get the permissions done but we got it empty for 12 hours. We shot and I think we are the only ones to do it that way. Its a big and beautiful sequence.

We shot at the second level, ground level, elevator, staircase outside. We just went all out. We shot for two days, he said.

Releasing on October 5, ‘Ishkq in Paris’ stars Priety in the lead opposite debutant Rhehan Malliek along filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.