"Dinner Game" director's story to get Indian adaptation
By Bedika Writer-director Francis Veber, one of the most celebrated names in French cinema, is looking forward to the Bollywood adaptation of his famous story "L'emmerdeur".
Veber's scripts have been turned into movies in France and Hollywood but it is for the first time that his story is being officially adapted in India by producer-director Jagdish Rajpurohit in his upcoming film "Bumboo".
"L'emmerdeur", a story about the unlikely friendship between a hitman and a suicidal man, was first adapted by Hollywood legend and Veber's idol Billy Wilder.
The 74-year-old, however, feels that Indian version is far better than what Wilder, who made classics like "Sunset Boulevard", "Seven Year Itch" and "Sabrina", tried to achieve in "Buddy Buddy", his career's last film.
"It was a bad movie. It makes me sad because Billy Wilder is a legend and my hero but he made a mistake in his casting. He cast two guys he used to work with and it did not work. What I like about the Indian version is that they have cast right people. The killer here looks like a tough guy so I am looking forward to see how it fares with Indian audience," Veber told PTI over phone from Paris.
The director, whose "Dinner Game" inspired "Bheja Fry", says he was surprised to be approached for the rights by Rajpurohit.
"Most of the time my stories get adapted without my knowledge and I don't get any money. But it is changing now. The Indian director of "Bumboo" was in touch with me. I was delighted to have someone who was very clear in his approach."
Veber's stories come from the cultural absurdities of the French people but they have been successfully adapted across the world. The secret, he says, is in having a high concept.
"If you have high concept that means you have a good premise. Then people are free to adapt them in their own ways. In the Indian film you have a man who is suicidal and another one is the killer. It's the secret for the movies to travel."
Veber is fascinated by the world of Bollywood because he has heard a lot about how Indian stars are treated by the audience.
"I would like to see Indian movies but they are not well distributed in our country. Bollywood is a huge thing. I would be delighted to come to India. I have a journalist friend who told me that Bollywood actors are treated like Gods which is amazing."
Veber, whose body of work includes films like "Le Jouet", "The Valet", "The Closet" and "Dinner Game", still finds it difficult when it comes to penning jokes.
"Writing comedy is very difficult because you never know when you are funny. Those who make bad movies, they don't do it on purpose. They feel they are making a funny movie. I am currently working on a screenplay which is comedy but I am not sure I will be funny." PTI