Actor Arfi Lamba (Prague, Fugly, Singh Is Blingg) tells Dinesh Raheja that he is overwhelmed that two films produced by him; Loev and The Road To Mandalay are being showcased at the MAMI film festival 2016.
Why have you chosen a Loev story between two men as your first feature film as a producer?
I never saw Loev as a story between two men or three men. I always saw it as a beautiful love story. Do we ever claim that a film is a love story between a man and a woman when we make a romantic film? Then why single out a love story between a man and man? Why do we label whatever is ‘out of the majority’? Our brains have been conditioned to label things to understand them. The labels create discriminations and divisions.
Why hasn’t Loev had a theatrical release in India yet?
Loev is not just critically acclaimed, it has been an audience favourite everywhere … and that is the top criterion for any distributor. So you tell me why we don’t have a distributor in India till now?
In your opinion, are a majority of us Indians homophobic? If yes, why is that so?
Yes, we are homophobic. I am trying to do my bit by making Loev. Everyone needs to do something to make people rethink this issue. We owe a better and an all-inclusive world to our kids.
Is the West more open in their acceptance of homosexuality in real and reel life?
I am sorry to burst the bubble, but the West is homophobic too, maybe a shade less than us. While India can hide behind the lack-of-awareness argument, I don’t know what excuse the West can have for its attitude.
There are three male characters in Loev, two of them in meaty roles. Why are you not playing any of them?
Well I guess the role played by Sidharth Menon is the meatiest. He is the fulcrum in the falling-apart relationship drama. But I had the choice to either act or produce. And I exercised my choice after due deliberation and that makes me super content and satisfied.
What prompted you to co-produce your second project, The Road To Mandalay?
My partner Katharina Suckale spotted the project at Cinefondation in Cannes in 2015. We are the German co-producers and have been actively involved in raising funds. The Road To Mandalay is the story of broken people who are lured by the charm of a better life but face the eternal dilemma of choosing between hearts and minds. We are all immigrants in the present day world. Some are distant from their homelands and some from their hearts. And that makes TRTM very relevant.
Now that you have turned producer, will the actor in Arfi Lamba take a backseat?
The actor in me can never take the back seat. Acting is life. So is role play. We do it all the time. I just happen to be good at romancing the camera and making it believe me sometimes.
Which is your current acting project?
I have shot for something special. I am going to be speaking German in it, and I have done a lot of other German things in it too (winks).