I am smitten by Rajkummar, Nargis chemistry, says '5 Weddings' director Namrata Singh Gujral
Rajkummar Rao and Nargis Fakhri may make for an odd couple, but '5 Weddings' director, Namrata Singh Gujral has a different opinion
Rajkummar Rao and Nargis Fakhri on the sets of '5 Weddings'
US-based actress-turned-filmmaker Namrata Singh Gujral's currently cutting the first look of '5 Weddings', a slice-of-life film starring Rajkummar Rao and Nargis Fakhri. The two share screen space with Academy award nominee Candy Clark as well as Golden Globe nominee Bo Derek in the Hollywood venture.
Seeing the rushes, Gujral says, "I want to give a shout-out to Nargis and Rajkummar. Aside from their fantastic performance, I am smitten by their chemistry on screen. Casting this jodi could not have been more perfect."
Though the two make for an odd couple — Nargis with a sexy gal image and Rajkummar known for dark, compelling roles — Gujral was keen on bringing the two together. She had seen Rajkummar's power-packed act in 'Shahid' (2012) and was familiar with Nargis, on the other hand, given that she is a US national. "The role was tailormade for her — a subcontinent girl living in the US."
Gujral, who primarily shot the film in LA, recently canned a few scenes in Chandigarh with Nargis, Rajkummar and a bunch of local actors. She admits, “I was initially hesitant when I felt compelled to cast Indian talent for authenticity versus casting West-trained actors, but the local talent blew me away.”
One of the roles is played by Suvinder Vicky, the lead from 'Chauthi Koot' (2015), which was screened at Cannes last year. “English is not his first language, but his earnest performance leaves you spellbound.”
About shooting in India, a first for her, she says, "As a storyteller, I find as much passion in India as I do anywhere else in the world. Technically, Indian teams are spot on, but on the production side, things need to rev up a bit. Budget-wise, I now understand that everyone takes a cut, but it's an alien idea and creates transparency problems. I also find the work pace more relaxed."
For Gujral, the most satisfying part about shooting here was infusing spirituality into a film that is funny, yet serious at the same time. “India was able to provide the perfect backdrop for a universal human journey. Not to mention, the latka-jhatkas at Indian weddings with Nargis and Rajkummar. Who doesn't love that?"
Dharamsala-born Namrata Singh Gujral moved to the US to study. She featured as Renu Mathur in Sanjay Gupta’s Kaante (2002). She made her foray into Hollywood as an actress. She played the title role in 2007 rom-com Americanizing Shelley, and was seen as Nurse Kathy in TV show Passions (2001-05) before turning filmmaker and cancer advocate.
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