Mumbai: Rohena Gera’s internationally acclaimed debut feature, ‘Is Love Enough? SIR starring Tillotama Shome (Monsoon Wedding, A Death in the Gunj, Hindi Medium), Vivek Gomber (Court) and marathi actress Geetanjali Kulkarni (Court, Taj Mahal 1989) is slated for Pan-India theatrical release on 20th March 2020.
The film had its World Premiere at the 71st International Cannes Film Festival, in the critics week competition section making Rohena Gera the first woman filmmaker to bag Gan Foundation Award for distribution.
The first look poster of the film is launched today.
Produced by Inkpot Films (Brice Poisson and Rohena Gera), and co-produced by Ciné-Sud Promotion, the film is a story of a Marathi widowed domestic worker played by Tillotama Shome who finds a complicated romantic spark with her recently single employer Ashwin (Vivek Gomber), who’s just returned from the U.S. after breaking off his engagement.
The film has travelled to nearly 45 international and Indian festivals including AFI Fest Los Angeles, São Paulo International Film Festival, Beijing International Film Festival, Zurich Film Festival and has won 16 awards including, Best Film, Best Actress, Best Director & Audience choice awards
Is Love Enough? SIR is among the top 5 highest-grossing Indian films released theatrically in France including Salaam Bombay and Lunchbox. The film is theatrically released or sold in nearly 30 countries across world and garnered critical acclaim and polular success.
The India release is spearheaded by Shiladitya Bora of Platoon One Films, with PVR Pictures Limited distributing the film.
The writer-director-producer, Rohena Gera, who is absolutely thrilled to bring the film to her home country says, “ The film is about fighting for a dream, and the film has become my dream come true. To have my first film in Cannes, and then to have it travel around the world from Brazil to Japan to Hungary to Israel… it’s beyond what I would have dared to dream. But that said, I made the film for India. It is an Indian story, it is about us. The fact that people abroad connected to it is a bonus. What I am so excited (and nervous) about is to see how people at home feel.”
“I have been really lucky to have had the support of a wonderful crew and amazing cast, especially Tillotama, Vivek and Geetanjali who breathed life into the characters and made them shine.
Tillotama Shome who plays Ratna, the Marathi domestic help in the film says, “SIR has had a dream run in the international film festival circuit, starting with Cannes and a spate of international releases. However, we were often asked in those countries, how the film was received in India and now we are excited we will finally have the answer. It both fills my heart with joy but also makes me nervous.”
Talking about her preparation for the role, she adds, ““It was a wonderful challenge to bring to life the delicate negotiations within Rohena’s script with my wonderful co-actors Vivek Gomber and Geetanjali Kulkarni. The subject matter of the film is so delicate that it was extremely nerve-racking and yet it is also what made it so rewarding. I had to learn Marathi for a few scenes. The effort to learn the language made me fall in love with Bombay a little more.”
Commenting on the themes, the film deals with she adds, “We all believe in love but can we love across class? And if we can, how far can we take it? How far are we willing to fight the system, the prejudices? This film is about love, this film is about us with all our good and bad.”
The actor and producer of acclaimed film, Court, Vivek Gomber who plays Ashwin quips, “This is great news, I am very very happy for the crew but more than anyone for Rohena. She has been at it fighting for the film, from its inception to production to its premiere in Cannes-Critic’s Week to multiple International releases and now finally she gets to bring the film to Indian audiences. I am very proud of her, and thankful that she kept fighting for the film so everyone’s work could get to the people.”
Vivek adds, “I also want to thank Tillotama Shome, who is fantastic in the film, in my opinion. Tillotama had been cast before me, so I knew whoever landed the job would work with Tilly. I like her work, and I like her as a person and I have wanted to work with her for a while so I was beside myself when Rohena cast me. Tillotama is a very generous actor and scene partner and I got to learn a lot from her. She made it easy. For me all the accolades go to the two women, Rohena for allowing me to be a part of the film, shaping my performance and Tilly for being a great co-actor so that Rohena could extract that performance out of me. I hope the audience watch the film and like it and I hope all of our efforts bear fruit.”
The producer Brice Poisson of ‘Inkpot Films’ says, ““It has been my privilege to be part of SIR’s journey. It was amazing to see French and Indian teams collaborating so well and transcending language and cultural backgrounds to produce such a film. This is more than one could dream of while producing a first feature film, from a Cannes selection to an uncontested commercial success with over 160k entries in France along with a massive international release, it has been no short of unreal.”
“The day right after the Cannes premiere, I received an email from someone at Lucas Films, their team had seen the film and were interested in meeting Rohena. I had a strong feeling that if they connected with SIR, then this film can have commercial success and is not a “festival” movie. They were right and it fills me with joy that our distribution partners around the world have seen financial reward out of this project” he adds
He signs off saying, “I would like to thank PVR for supporting the film and Shiladitya Bora, who has believed in the film from the very beginning. I am also extremely grateful for the support of all our partners. After witnessing reactions of Germans Japanese etc… I am waiting to see the reaction in India.”
Ratna (Tillotama Shome) works as a domestic live-in help with Ashwin(Vivek Gomber), a man from a wealthy family. Although Ashwin seems to have it all, Ratna can sense that he has given up on his dreams and is somewhat lost… On the other hand, Ratna who seems to have nothing, is full of hope and works determinedly towards her dream. As these two worlds collide and the two individuals connect, the barriers between them seem only more insurmountable.
Rohena Gera’s Biography and Filmography
Educated at Stanford University (B.A.) in California, and Sarah Lawrence College (M.F.A.) in New York, Rohena has worked in film and television for almost 20 years. Starting her career at Paramount Pictures Literary Affairs office in New York in 1996, Rohena has since worked in a range of roles from Assistant Director to screenwriter to independent producer/director.
Rohena’s most recent project What’s love got to do with it? a micro-budget feature documentary premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival in 2013.She independently produced and directed a non-profit campaign called Stop the Hatred to fight communalism. This featured 16 national icons including Amitabh Bachchan, Zakir Husain, Aamir Khan, Ashutosh Gowariker, Sachin Tendulkar and various others. This was screened in 240 cinemas nationwide and across all national television channels that are members of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation. She has been commissioned to write for mainstream Hindi cinema directors including Kunal Kohli and Rohan Sippy as well as Santosh Sivan and Ram Madhvani (who represent independent Indian cinema). She co-wrote Kuch Na Kaho (featuring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, produced by Ramesh Sippy) and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic (featuring Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherjee, produced by Aditya Chopra) She has also written more than 40 episodes for the very successful television series Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, adapted from the same source as Ugly Betty (Betty La Fea).
In her tenure as Communications director for Breakthrough (an international non- profit headquartered in New York) she released one of their music albums through Sony Music and executive produced a music video featuring Rahul Bose and Anupam Kher. The UN Foundation invited her to serve as an advisor for their wildlife conservation campaign in India.
Having grown up in India, but having lived in California, New York and Paris, she is both an insider and an outsider to Mumbai. SIR, Rohena’s current feature film project was selected by Critics week at Cannes for the competition section, and has already been picked up by MK2 films for international sales as well as by a well-known French distributor Diaphana. It also received the support of the World Cinema Fund (Cinémas du monde) of the CNC (National Centre for Cinema) in France for post-production.
About Inkpot Films
Inkpot Films is a fiercely independent, socially responsible production company. We strive to make entertaining, artistic and topical films that can transcend cultural borders.
About Ciné-Sud Promotion
Started in 1993 as a company designed to promote art house films (Rachid Bouchareb, Wang Chao, Guillermo Del Toro, Raymond Depardon, Djibril Diop Mambety, Julio Medem, Jafar Panahi, Manuel Poirier, Arturo Ripstein, Paulo Rocha, Carlos Saura, Paolo & Vittorio Taviani, Jean-Philippe Toussaint… amongst others), which has developed a production arm since 2001 in the same way (almost 50 films produced or co-produced till now, more 250 international awards) Editorial line is quality, without frontiers, constraints of form, style or genre, researching emerging talents and supporting as well confirmed directors with projects delivering a singular and important message on humanity and society under a strong cinematic form.
About Platoon One Films
Platoon One Films is all about the art, craft and business of cinema. We are a boutique film studio and turnkey solutions provider for motion picture business with a core focus on production, marketing, distribution and syndication. We believe that quality content need not be boring, inaccessible or limited by boundaries. And that’s why our highly specialised team strides towards one common goal – to help cutting-edge cinema reach a global audience, in a meaningful and profitable way.