Bollywood Hungama
Bollywood Entertainment at its best
Last Updated 21.06.2024 | 10:37 AM IST



Belgian director Konstantin Bojanov on The Shameless, “The odds were stacked against me and the possibility of failure was immense”

en Bollywood News Belgian director Konstantin Bojanov on The Shameless, “The odds were stacked against me and the possibility of failure was immense”

Belgian filmmaker Konstantin Bojanov tutored Anasuya Sengupta, who has won the Best Actress award in the Un Certain Regard Section at the Cannes Film Festival, from the scratch as she had no experience at all in acting.

Belgian director Konstantin Bojanov on The Shameless, “The odds were stacked against me and the possibility of failure was immense”

Belgian director Konstantin Bojanov on The Shameless, “The odds were stacked against me and the possibility of failure was immense”

Bojanov, known for his earlier works like Ave and Light Thereafter, describes Anasuya as a natural talent. “Above all, she understood the character immediately. I held two weeks of table readings and workshopping the scenes with all the lead actors during the prep, and that made my work on set immensely easier as we shot the film at a breakneck pace. I tend to listen to my gut when it comes down to selecting my actors. It’s how I found Angela Nedialkova for Avé two weeks before we began production and after a year of searching for the lead. It is also how I found Barry Keoghan for Light Thereafter. It was his first lead role,” he said.

Speaking of The Shameless, Bojanov said, “The Shameless is a love story between a young woman and a young girl nestled inside a crime story like a Russian doll. It is about a young woman on the run to save her life after killing a cop in a brothel on G. B. Road. She changes her identity and enters a small community of sex workers, where she hopes to find a temporary shelter. She falls in love with a young girl from across the street, and that becomes a major impediment to her escape.”

Shooting for The Shameless was no cakewalk for Bojanov. “I walked the tightrope all along. The odds were stacked against me, and the possibility of failure was immense. For a variety of reasons, one of them being the red tape you mentioned, the other being our low budget, we couldn't shoot the film in India and shot it in Nepal,” he said.

About finding the perfect cast, Bojanov revealed, “I worked with the Parag Mehta agency in Mumbai for the casting. It is how I found Omara. She was one of the couple hundred young actresses who auditioned for the second lead Devika. Even here, I trusted my gut. I saw something in her when I first looked at her pictures. Of course, I couldn't be convinced that she was the right choice before I saw her auditions and before I tested her with Anasuya. She's a classical dancer by training and holds a degree in journalism. I’d seen Tanmay Dhanania in several films and liked his work and versatility. We also have friends in common. It’s joined the project. Auroshikha Dey was proposed to me by the same agency. I was very impressed by her auditions and chose her over some better-known actresses. I watched Rohit Kokate in Lovefucked (this is the international Netflix title) and knew that I wanted to work with him right away. I knew some of Mita Vashisth’s early films, and that was a no-brainer.”

In Bojanov’s cinema, we perpetually encounter marginalized people being targeted. “I have a strong affinity to characters that live on the edge of society, transgress social boundaries, and live according to their own moral code. If there was one arching theme in my films, that is escape – escape from difficult circumstances, and sometimes from oneself. They are about characters striving to reinvent themselves and gain control over their lives. I try to put my characters in situations where they face complex and near-impossible moral dilemmas,” he said.

Anasuya Sengupta dedicated her award at Cannes to the LGBTQ community. Bojanov feels strongly on this subject. “In many parts of the world, the LGBTQ community has very few rights and protections. In some countries, homosexuality is illegal. Even in economically industrial countries, where people should know better, one often finds rampant homophobia. It's time to put an end to this gross mistreatment and injustice. The Shameless is not an overly political film. Still, it touches on so many hot topics, such as women's rights, LGBTQ rights, sex workers' rights, and the global rise of the far right and religious fundamentalism, that the political discourse becomes inevitable. I welcome it. Here, I would like to emphasize that I am a big proponent of sex workers' rights. They are a marginalized and stigmatized community, which we tend to ignore, leaving them vulnerable to trafficking and unspeakable abuse, not to mention the societal hypocrisy,” he said.

The director doubts The Shameless would make it into Indian cinemas. “I think the chances of The Shameless passing through the censorship board in India are slim to none,” he said. “I will not allow severe cuts as that will completely destroy the film. In any event, you would probably need to cut out one-third of the film to stand any chance for distribution under the current rules, but that's just my opinion. The reality on the ground might be very different. Obviously, I would love for the film to be distributed in India, and I'm confident it will happen someday.”

He is now preparing to shoot his next. “I’m preparing an art heist thriller, again with a female protagonist, which we plan to shoot next spring. I'm also discussing with Ankush Saikia a slow-burn psychological thriller set in northeast India,” he revealed.

Bojanov names Satyajit Ray as his favourite Indian filmmaker and rattles off the names of his favourite Indian films. “My favourite Indian films of more recent years in no particular order are Black Friday (Anurag Kashyap), Salaam Bombay (Mira Naira) Liar’s Dice (Geethu Mohandas), Killa (Avinash Arun), Newton (Amit Masurkar), Court (Chaitanya Tamhane), Soni (Ivan Ayr), Lipstick Under My Burkha (Alankrita Shrivastava), Lovefucked (Aadish Keluskar). I'm sure I'm missing some titles. There are so many Indian actors I admire. The list is too long,” he said.

Also Read: Anasuya Sengupta makes history as First Indian to win Top Acting Award at Cannes Film Festival


Catch us for latest Bollywood News, New Bollywood Movies update, Box office collection, New Movies Release , Bollywood News Hindi, Entertainment News, Bollywood Live News Today & Upcoming Movies 2024 and stay updated with latest hindi movies only on Bollywood Hungama.

Rate this article
Make favorite
Copyright © 2024 Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Forgot Password
Please provide your registered email address or username
  • OR
Write A Review
  • Click to rate on scale of 1-5
  • 5000 characters remaining

New notification