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Redford, Fonda never let me feel weight of their stardom: Ritesh Batra

Thursday, October 5, 2017 • Hindi Comments

"The Lunchbox" director has moved on. His new film "Our Souls At Night", which premiered on Netflix last week, is happy with the feedback. He says he could have been consumed by the feeling of working with legends like Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, but content became the centre of attention for all of them.

"I've to admit the feedback has been extremely gratifying," Batra said.

"People from the entire world saw the film on the same day. That's the reach of the digital medium. I had good things being said about the film from people as far away as Brazil."

For Batra, "Our Souls At Night" was a challenge on many levels.

"I was working with these two iconic legends. And I could easily have been overawed by their sheer presence. Luckily for us, all three of us - Robert Redford, Jane Fonda and I - had an idol to look up to. Kent Haruf, the writer of the original novel. All of us were fans of the novel. We all worked towards doing justice to the original material."

He feels blessed as the author's family was also involved in the making of the film.

"Haruf is not around to see what we did with his novel. But his family was associated with every aspect of the film. We were all looking towards the same goal of making a film that Haruf would have approved of."

How did Batra get comfortable with the legends?

"Months before we started shooting in Colorado, I spent time with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda individually. Then all three of us spent time together. The bedroom set where much of the film happens was our home for a while."

He used a lot of the local population in Colorado Springs.

"All the friends at the pub that Robert Redford meets every day are locals. We wanted to keep it as authentic as possible. We also ensured that Robert and Jane's onscreen relationship grew organically. The camera moved only with them. It followed their emotions."

Batra, now in Mumbai to shoot his next, is filled with gratitude for the opportunity to work with the legendary couple.

"Not for a moment did Robert or Jane make me feel the weight of their stardom. They surrendered to the film and to their characters."

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