Filmmaker and the line producer of such global hits as Slumdog Millionaire and The Life Of Pi, Tabrez Noorani has personally rescued sex workers and girls caught in human trafficking racket from brothels in India.
He is now in the process of completing a feature film on the subject. Tabrez says the entire cast jumped into the project without bothering with the benefits. Rajkummar Rao plays a character based on the director. Admits Tabrez bashfully, “Yes, Rajkummar’s characters attempts to rescue sex workers and girls trapped in human trafficking. I did the same.”
Tabrez Noorani can’t believe his good fortune. “I’ve waited 12 years to make Love Sonia. The subject, human trafficking is very close to my heart. I’ve researched, visited brothels, and even rescued sex workers from the flesh trade with the help of NGOs. This is the film I’ve always wanted to direct.” But something or the other always stopped Tabrez. “In 2007 I was all set to start my dream project whenSlumdog Millionaire came up, Then again when I was all set to start my film when I was asked to be line producer for Life Of Pi, then Eat Pray Love…”
Finally Tabrez’s directorial dream has fructified. Says the ecstatic first-time director, “To have a producer of David Womark’s stature back me in my directorial debut, and that too in a film about sex trafficking in Hindi, is an amazing break for me.”
Tabrez feels not much justice has been done to the theme of human trafficking in cinema. “The only significant film I’ve seen on human trafficking is Lukas Moodysson’s Lilia Forever. Otherwise Indian films on the theme like Nagesh Kukunoor’s Laxmi and Pradeep Sarkar’s Mardaani do not have the bandwidth to make a broad impact.”
Though Tabrez has serious creative reservations about a commercial Hollywood film like Taken he is pleased by the reach of the film. “The message of human trafficking went far in Taken. I’d want my film to have the same reach,”
Tabrez is joyous about getting all the actors he wanted. Says Tabrez, “Freida Pinto, Richa Chadha and two new absolutely fabulous actresses Mrunal Thakur and Riya Sisodia… they’ve all surrendered to my script from the moment they came on board. No money was discussed. And I can’t begin to describe Manoj Bajpai‘s level of commitment to the project.”
Love Sonia now moves to Hong Kong for another lap of shooting